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OIT integrates Google Apps to Web system

Becky Hogan | Friday, August 22, 2008

Notre Dame’s Office of Information Technologies (OIT) has been working over the summer months to provide students with a new e-mail system through Google Apps.

All incoming students now have e-mail accounts through Google Apps, however migrating returning students’ existing accounts to the new system has required more time than anticipated.

OIT’s project director Katie Rose said the migration process has been running smoothly – just slower than her team anticipated.

“Most of the incoming students’ accounts were automatically created on Google Apps. We are a little farther behind on the accounts for returning students, and we will be making an announcement next week about when the migration will take place,” Rose said.

Originally, OIT planned to finish migrating students’ existing accounts during the summer and have the system ready to use by the start of the fall semester.

“We have one or two small things to finish up on the accounts for existing students,” Rose said

Rose also said that incoming students have been using the new system with ease.

According to Rose, the migration process has been running smoothly and returning students will not lose any information from their Webmail accounts.

“There is no need for anyone to be concerned,” she said. “All returning students will have the same e-mail address and will not lose anything in their folders.”

Many returning students are anxious to switch over to the Google mail system since it includes several improvements on the current Webmail system.

The Google Apps e-mail system has a 6.5 GB e-mail quota that is markedly larger than 100 MG the Webmail system has.

The new service also features a calendar system as well as an application called Google documents which allows students to create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations and share them with other students. They can collaborate and edit these documents online at the same time.

Also included in the new system is a chat utility, similar to AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Instant Messenger, and a portal page that students can customize to meet their own needs.

Rose also said the Google Apps is ideal for students who use mobile devices.

“Google Apps has a lot of great features,” she said. “For students who use Blackberry devices, Windows Mobile devices, or iPhones, it has excellent support for mobile devices.”

Senior David Heroux said that he believes the Google system will be more user-friendly than Webmail.

“It’s a shame that [the University] has been using such an antiquated system for so long.”

OIT has also being working with the University’s Alumni Association to provide alumni with an e-mail account on Google Apps, however the Association has not yet announced its plans to offer this service.

“We have been working with the Alumni Office for the last two months.  It will be up to them to announce the service for alumni accounts [on Google Apps],” Rose said.