Google today announced the launch of a suite of Web-based applications for small businesses, a step analysts say moves the company toward more direct competition with Microsoft.
Google Apps for Your Domain (google.com/a) bundles several of the tech giant's popular features--E-mail, group-scheduling calendars, voice calling and instant-messaging services, and Web design and hosting features--adding some administrative controls. The launch version is free, supported by advertising. Google plans to introduce a paid version of the service that will include more storage and some technical support. It most likely will be ad free by the end of the year; its price has not been set.
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