Updated

googleapps.jpg

Google has unveiled a set of hosted applications that anyone with a Web site, from individual to large company, can offer their users for free.

Google continues to prove its usefulness — even as it drives the price of many Web services down to zero. It is also part of Google’s campaign of attrition against Microsoft, whereby Google relentlessly unveils free software products for companies that, backed by the sexy brand of Google, have immediate prospects for wide-spread adoption. For example, when we looked recently for a hosted mail account, we chose Google, because it was free (we’re not saying it is better; only that Google gets a lot of breaks because we’re already familiar with its other products, and assume that everything will soo be nicely integrated).

These latest apps are private email, IM and calendar tools. They also include web design and web publishing. It’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software for to install or maintain. More info is here. They include:

Gmail — “Offer email to your members with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser.”

Google Talk — “Your members can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free — anytime, anywhere in the world.”

Google Calendar — “Members can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others.”

Google Page Creator — “Create and publish web pages for your domain quickly and easily with this what-you-see-is-what-you-get website design .”

Google says that over time, it will offer versions of this entire service oriented toward the needs of specific groups — “from family websites and community groups to non-profits and small businesses, as well as universities, large enterprises, and ISPs,” the company said in a statement.

This service is an expansion of the “Gmail for Your Domain” service launched in February.