Google shocked the tech world back in December of 2012 when, out of nowhere, it announced that Google Apps Free Edition was going bye-bye. I was also a bit disappointed to hear about this, as it provided a free way for clubs and small businesses of 10 users or less to leverage the power of Google Apps for their email, calendaring, contacts, etc.
Yet as a consultant to numerous clients supporting clients on the Free edition, who knows the unreasonable expectations they sometimes hold the (free) service to, I can see Google’s justification for pruning the bushes here. We can all agree: it was good while it lasted.
Luckily, there is another stable (and also completely free) option for those who want to route email for their custom domain through something other than terrible POP or IMAP email through their webhost. I’ve got nothing against webhosts themselves — but their ‘free’ email solutions are horrible. From GoDaddy to 1and1 to the other big boys all advertising their ‘free’ email services, none of them are worth their weight in salt.
Enter Outlook.com. Yes, that fierce new competitor to Gmail that is quickly picking up steam. BetaNews writer Mihaita Bamburic pitted it head to head against Gmail, and while he claims it doesn’t topple Gmail (yet), it is still a very solid solution to free email. And Microsoft has been doing anything but sitting on its heels with this new cloud service.