New stuff on the Net for nix

The trick is to tune out all the promotional chatter and get to the valuable stuff quickly. But to find the good giveaways, you often have to waste time rummaging through heaps of ill conceived, poorly executed and just plain useless stuff. In fact, we did a fair bit of slogging to find the items listed here. This time around, we searched for innovative or little-known free stuff that leverages the Net's strengths of interactivity and multimedia capabilities.

Looking forward

What's next for free Web services? The latest trend is "trading up", which happens when you upgrade the basic service - enlarging your e-mail inbox, say - in exchange for a small fee or for signing up friends. Some services will let you opt out of ads this way. In general, though, free Web sites will remain advertising-driven, making them better suited to home users.

Keep in mind that today's free Web services may be too expensive tomorrow. Fortunately, competition in the free online service market is fierce, so if your favourite site suddenly starts asking for money, feel free to go elsewhere.



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