Google just announced that, effective immediately, they no longer offer free Google Apps domains. Existing customers are unaffected.

I registered my personal domain with Google almost from the day that they were offering it, and as an early adopter of Gmail and Google Apps, I was one of the strongest advocates when the transition to Google Enterprise started in our IT management team.

Now, with this move, I am starting to have doubts. While Google has always said that services would remain to be free, this is the first sign that they are chipping away at that promise. As only one small particle in the Google Universe, I know that I do not have much influence. Still, I'm going to watch where this goes, and I guess it is time to start planning for contingencies.