Google today announced its Google Apps For Your Domain tools, a set of online applications and services aimed at small and midsized businesses. The release of Google Apps For Your Domain is yet another direct shot across the bow of Microsoft, which has historically dominated this market.

Google Apps For Your Domain offers businesses Google-hosted email, calendaring, Instant Messaging (IM), and Web page creation services, freeing those businesses from administering and maintaining that functionality. Incredibly, Google will offer the services for free, though a future version will include premium services to which businesses can subscribe. (The email solution, GMail, is supported by Web advertising.) Expected premium services include extra online storage and technical support, and Google is also looking at adding its online word processing and spreadsheet solutions to the Google Apps For Your Domain mix.

"\[Google Apps For Your Domain\] eliminates many of the expenses and hassles of maintaining a communications infrastructure, which is welcome relief for many small business owners and IT staffers," says Dave Girouard, vice president of Google's enterprise group. "Organizations can let Google be the experts in delivering high-quality email, messaging, and other Web-based services while they focus on the needs of their users and their day-to-day business."

You can learn more about the Google Apps For Your Domain tools at
https://www.google.com/a/