It is sad that Google won’t be accepting more people for its free Google Apps offering. I know quite a few people who use this service as individuals or families to take advantage of centralized management of accounts and personal domains. Being able to provide support for these services to your parents and children was a killer feature, be it password resets or other typical small business tasks.
The official recommendation is to create personal Google Accounts. This might have been fine if features like custom domains and some account oversight or management was available.
I hope that Google will come to its senses and come up with a Google Personal Premium service that will offer some essential family features. I would be happy to pay a few dollars, but the current cost of Google Apps Premium is hardly family friendly.
Luckily, existing users can continue using Google Apps for free, but it is obvious that we may be left behind moving forward. After all Google is citing that one of the major reasons for shutting down this service is that it is hard to keep features up to date with the personal accounts while maintaining standard business lifecycle services.
Oh well - maybe it is time to shop around.