I’ve been using google apps for over a year now and recommend it to all my friends. It provides email, google talk, google calendar, google docs, start page and goolge page creator all for free. Best of all you can bring your own domain to the service.
Google Apps brings together essential services to help your business, school, group or family communicate and collaborate more effectively. These services are powerful, easy to set up, require no maintenance, and you can get them for free. Everything is unified by the Start Page, a central place for your users to preview their inboxes and calendars, access your essential content, and search the web. Administrators can choose to deploy a mix of the communication and collaboration products listed below.
So what are the benefits over another provider such as hotmail?
You can have your own personal email address e.g. [email protected], your own site e.g www.ctideas.co.uk, your own corporate calendar. All of this with the knowledge that you own the domain name and can switch out of the service at any time.
Even if you just use the email service, gmail is far superior to all other online providers and with applications like prism you can use gmail like a desktop application.
You can also bring your own domain to blogger and utilise google apps as well giving you the perfect combination of applications and website for no cost! What more could you want.