AU to switch e-mail to Google

Correction Appended

The Office of Information Technology will move all AU e-mail accounts to Google before New Student Orientations begin in June, according to Chief Information Officer Dave Swartz.

The change will give students access to Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and Google Docs - applications that the current LotusNotes system does not support, Swartz said. Google will also give users 10 times more storage than LotusNotes, Swartz said.

"There are some applications in LotusNotes, but not as jazzy and modern," he said.

Students have been the main force behind the move, he said. Student Government President Joe Vidulich has advocated for the switch to Google since the beginning of the school year.

"We hope they're excited about it, I haven't found a student yet that isn't," Swartz said.

On Wednesday, OIT will notify the AU community about the upcoming transition process, Swartz said.

The transition has not incurred any direct costs, other than the time OIT spent on the project, Swartz said.

"There's no real direct lay out of money," he said. "It's largely in-kind or contributed employee time to make this happen."

The new Google platform will still use a user's address and users can still access their accounts through desktop e-mail clients, he said.

Joni Snyder, acting director of network software, said the entire community will transition to Gmail at the same time.

"Notification will be sent out prior with how you'll be able to log into the new account," Snyder said.

Vidulich said many students already use Gmail, and the switch will allow students to keep their same address after graduation.

A group of about 15 students, including Vidulich, has tested the new Google system. Soon, the test will be expanded to include more people to check the system's ability to handle more volume, Vidulich said.

The new Google system will provide students with more useful features, he said.

"Document sharing will now be very easy if you're working on group projects," Vidulich said.

David Plassmann, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he thought the transition to Google would be an improvement over LotusNotes.

"I'm glad I can still use my desktop e-mail client," Plassmann said. "But for people who want to use an Internet interface, it'll be faster."

The drawbacks to the current LotusNotes system are a lack of storage and integrated suite of applications, Swartz said.

Many other universities have transitioned to Google, leading AU students to express interest in the system, he said.

"They all kept saying the same thing," he said. "One of their highest priorities was moving to Gmail.

Correction: In "AU to switch e-mail to Google," the lead inaccurately states that AU intends to migrate all e-mail accounts to Gmail. In fact, the change only affects students; faculty and staff will still use Lotus Notes.

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