Google will be offering its Gmail service for free, but right now supply is limited. Not surprisingly, a market in the accounts has arisen, check out this ebay listing. I have heard that some accounts have gone for as much as $150.
If any of you know of good estimates of the consumer surplus from Google (and related search engines) more generally, please let me know. Here are some interesting magnitudes, comparing Google’s possible market value to various countries.
Thanks to Nicholas Kreisle for the pointer.
Addendum: Here is some speculation on where Google is heading in the longer run.