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Difference between Google Account, Google Workspace, and Gmail

Over a billion people use Google services every day, both for personal and business purposes. They can sign in with different types of accounts to communicate, work with documents online, and share files. We're talking about subscriptions with a certain storage capacity in the cloud and services with fundamental differences in functionality. If you wonder what platforms we refer to and want to choose the perfect software for your specific case, you should consider all types of Google accounts.

What Is a Google Account

A Google account is an account that provides access to basic consumer-level services created by a technology company. By registering it, you can:

  • create and edit digital documents in Google Docs and share them with other users;
  • upload photos and videos to Google Photos. Without a Drive subscription, their resolution will be limited by the platform's rules;
  • build web pages in the Google Sites visual builder and use ready-made templates to develop small web resources;
  • leave custom markers and reviews on Google Maps, add important information about geographic locations.  
Creating a Google Account - Indiana University Press

Please note that some of these services are available to you without a Google account, but they offer limited functionality if you don't have one. Without a subscription, you can still view maps and digital documents but not edit them. 

Another advantage of such an account is quick authorization with the services of other developers via Google SSO (single sign-on). Many companies trust Google and allow you to use information from your account to instantly register or authorize on their platforms.  

Sign up and log in with Google | LiveChat Help Center

We are used to associating Google accounts with the example@gmail.com email format. Actually, an account can be linked to another email account, such as Yahoo or Hotmail. Moreover, you can manage it using the Gmail client, albeit with some restrictions. In addition, the terms of service will be determined by your provider rather than Google. 

What Is a Gmail Account

A Gmail account is an account that provides you with an entry to your Google inbox and related services. How does it differ from a basic Google account? First, any Gmail account means signing up for a Google account, but not every Google account requires you to sign up for Gmail. You can use a mail account from another provider if it's convenient for you. Second, a Gmail account gives you access to some additional services:

  • Google Meet video conferencing platform;
  • Google Hangouts messenger;
  • Google Sheets spreadsheet editor;
  • Google Slides presentation builder;
  • Uploading videos to YouTube;
  • Creating blogs on the Blogger platform (Blogspot). 

To create a Gmail account, you do not need to provide personal data and a phone number. However, in this case, you may not be able to restore access to it if you lose your password. That's why Google recommends providing a backup email or mobile phone number for security reasons.

When you create a Gmail account, you automatically sign up for Google Workspace. Its key component is the Drive cloud storage used to store emails and attachments. However, Gmail and Google Workspace accounts are not the same. So, it's worth examining the features of the latter one in more detail. 

What Is a Google Workspace Account

A Google Workspace account is an account on a productivity platform designed to allow multiple users to share and edit digital assets simultaneously. It is automatically registered for each Google email account and includes access to the following services:

  • Google Drive cloud storage;
  • Gmail email client;
  • Google Calendar scheduler;
  • Digital document management platforms Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc.;
  • Google Meet, a video conferencing service;
  • Google Keep notebook;
  • Google Vault, a service for archiving and protecting critical data. 

Anyone with a Google Workspace account can upload, create, and share digital documents. Even users not registered with Google can access them; for example, text documents will be available for viewing and downloading. Integration with popular software like Microsoft Office makes the Workspace platform versatile and easy to use. 

To understand the difference between Workspace and other platforms, you should consider the different types of Google accounts on this platform. They can be designed for:

  • Individual users (Essentials edition)

It is the basic version that we discussed above. It is registered automatically when you create a Gmail account. For more advanced features, you should upgrade to one of the subscriptions below.

  • Small and medium-sized businesses (Business edition)

Allows you to connect up to 300 users to one account. You can register email accounts on a custom domain, for example, user@yourdomain.com. An administrator can manage access rights to files and create shared disks for working on projects. It has tools to monitor the productivity of each user.

  • Large businesses (Enterprise edition)

A subscription with individual terms of service. The basic version includes advanced cybersecurity features, including the ability to remotely delete data on a stolen or lost device. It can be integrated with existing company software, including software developed by employees independently.

  • Educational institutions (Education edition)

Similar to the version for medium-sized businesses, but differs in preferential tariff plans and access to the Classroom online lesson service. Officially registered educational institutions, from kindergartens to universities with doctoral programs, can subscribe to it.

  • Nonprofit enterprises (Nonprofit edition)

A free business subscription for public organizations. It is available in 65 countries, including the United States and most EU countries. Officially registered organizations that contribute to the development of communities and do not make a profit can use it. 

Please note that each type of account, except for the Nonprofit edition, has several subscription levels. They differ in the amount of cloud storage, the efficiency and informativeness of support, the functionality of certain services, and, of course, the price. 

To create a Google Workspace account, go to the platform page and click Get Started button. Enter information about your company, such as the name and number of employees. Choose a subscription plan and submit your application. When your application is approved, you will receive an email with a link to your account administrator dashboard

Google Accounts Pricing

A basic Google account is always free of charge. Anyone can access the services of editing online documents, maps, and cloud storage for storing photos. All you need to do is provide your email address and create a password. 

If you sign up for a Gmail account, you should know it is subject to the Google One subscription rules. It includes the following subscription plans that apply to accounts for personal use:

  • Starter — free of charge. 15 GB of cloud storage divided between Gmail, Drive, and Photos.
  • Basic — $1.99 per month. 100 GB of storage that can be distributed across 5 separate accounts.
  • Premium — $9.99. 2 TB of cloud storage and improved image editor features in Photos.
  • AI Premium — $19.99. 2 TB of storage and access to Gemini Premium generative AI to improve productivity in document collaboration, communication, and writing emails.

We have already discussed above what types of Google accounts are there. Please note that subscription plans for large businesses and education institutions are set individually, during negotiations with company employees. They will depend on the functionality, the complexity of integration with existing software, and the number of users. Therefore, only subscriptions for small and medium-sized businesses have fixed prices:

  • Business Starter — $6 per month for each user. 30 GB of cloud storage for each user, a custom domain for email accounts.
  • Business Standard — $12 per month, 2 TB of storage, the ability to organize video conferences for up to 150 participants with automatic recording.
  • Business Plus — $18 per month, 5 TB of storage, up to 500 participants in video conferences with attendance control, secure Vault storage for account administrators, and a function to intelligently search for important legal information in correspondence.

Access to Gemini Premium AI is paid for additionally. The basic version costs $20 per month for one user. It increases productivity by automatically generating text for scheduled tasks, emails, and documents. For $30 per month, you get support for 15 languages and the ability to integrate into communication services such as text chats and video conferencing platforms. 

Another significant aspect is that you can subscribe to Google Workspace Business Edition for at least a year. You can pay for it upfront or make monthly payments, but you can't cancel it before the end of the contract. 

To pay for a business account subscription, you must enter your bank card or company account number in the administrator panel. This often creates security problems, as a business owner must provide access to all settings to an accountant or IT specialist. Medium and large businesses have a more convenient option - they can receive a Google invoice by email or in print form and pay it in the usual way. 

Google Account Limits

First, the cloud storage allocated to you is always shared among all available Google services. If you save a video conference recording, it will also take up space in your storage, potentially limiting the space for documents, photos, and emails. 

Second, Google sets limits on daily uploads. Although the maximum file size is quite large at 5 TB, each user can upload no more than 750 GB per day. If this limit is exceeded, the download of the current file will stop, and you will have to process the subsequent ones tomorrow. 

Third, Google One and Workspace have limits on the maximum number of digital assets. A single user can create up to 500 million files, with up to 500,000 in each folder. In turn, folders can be nested within each other, forming up to 100 structural levels of the file system. It's unlikely that you'll ever encounter such limitations, but you should still be aware of them. 

How to Switch Between Different Google Accounts

Please note that a corporate Google Workspace account is always created from scratch and is not an upgrade of a basic Google account. This may cause conflicts between accounts. For example, you've already registered Google Ads with your personal account, and now, you want to access it from your corporate account. 

Google experts recommend that you carefully plan account creation and connection of certain services. Nevertheless, they provide users with the ability to quickly switch between accounts. It is quite easy to do. When you open any Google service (including a blank page in Chrome), hover over the user's avatar in the upper right corner. Click on it and select Add Account. Enter your email address and password. Now, you will see additional avatars in this window. Clicking on them will instantly take you to the desired account.

If you have several people using the same computer who have their own Google accounts, it's best to set up individual Chrome profiles for them using the instructions. This will increase security by minimizing the risk of disclosing sensitive information.

Enhance the Functionality of Your Google Account with Pics.io DAM

While Google's services may seem unlimited, there are many gaps. Searching for the right materials among tens of thousands of files is often time-consuming, and sharing data in different folders is hardly convenient. To overcome these limitations, you can opt for Google Drive digital asset management with Pics.io. It features the following advantages:

  • Improved user access rights settings.
  • The possibility of creating custom portals (websites and inboxes) for convenient and secure file sharing and receiving both internally and externally. 


Google's account policy is complicated and confusing - some account types are similar and even have common functionality. To choose the best option, consider the following tips:

  • Sign up for a Google account with an existing email account from another provider to work with electronic documents and quickly sign in to various services.
  • Create a new email account in Gmail to access cloud storage and productivity tools.
  • Sign up for a professional Google Workspace account for business, education, or nonprofit organizations to share your account across multiple workplaces and access enterprise-level services. 

You can also enhance the functionality of your Gmail or Google Workspace accounts by connecting Pics.io digital asset management (DAM) platform to Drive cloud storage. It provides convenient file organization and search by metadata, allows you to create collections of different file types, and provides tools for quickly sharing information with clients, partners, or contractors.  

Did you enjoy this article? Give Pics.io a try — or book a demo with us, and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.