As far back as 2017, Google gave a timeline for its efforts to shut down the Classic version of Google Sites, its simple site-building tool. Having implemented migration tools for users to take advantage of, it vowed to give the new Google Sites as much feature parity as it could before shuttering the old.
This included the ability to search a website, restrict access to published sites, have more granular access to different sections of sites, the ability to embed URLs and code, notifications for when sites were updated, corporate themes, the option to create larger sites, including deeper hierarchy, more text formatting options, custom web addresses, and API capabilities.
Before deprecating the classic Sites, we’ll ensure that the new Sites includes several features necessary for team sites, portals, knowledge bases, and intranets.
Google Workspace Updates
Since then, the company has made good on a bunch of things, including those text formatting and theming tools, and is now giving an update to its timeline for the nail in the coffin for Classic Sites. The following dates are taken from the Google Workspace Updates blog. Basically, if you still have any websites in Google Sites Classic, you’ll have until July 1, 2022, to convert them to the new and more capable format. Previously, this date was set as just the first day of this upcoming year!
- Starting June 1, 2022 (previously December 1, 2021): You will no longer be able to edit any remaining classic Sites in your domain.
- Starting July 1, 2022 (previously January 1, 2022): Classic Sites will no longer be viewable unless they are converted to new Google Sites.
While certainly not a shocker as it’s been planned as such for a while now, it’s nice to see Google extending this out. My guess is that not enough users have taken advantage of the original timeline, and they’re simply not in a good space right now to shut down the old tools. Change can be hard, and the company is often seen extending timelines that rely on end-users to do something vital. It’s difficult to mobilize millions of users to swap to something new as a result of complete recreations of services.
For now, this updated timeline doesn’t affect users with standard, free Google Accounts, since they lost access to Classic Sites on September 1, 2021, but these individuals can still go and download their sites from Google Takeout or Drive where they’ve been archived. Additionally, so long as they’re not larger than 5,000 pages, Google has gone ahead and pushed a draft version of the Classic Site to the new Sites dashboard for review and publication.
However, if you’re a Workspace user of any tier, or have a G Suite Basic or Business license, you’ve definitely got more breathing room, and that’s fantastic! Sadly, the bulk conversion tool for the Classic Sites Manager is temporarily offline as Google makes updates to “conversion fidelity” for sites settings, so you’ll either have to wait until it’s back up and running or convert them one at a time.