[ICPL 2008] Outsourcing E-Mail: Technology and Policy

Our panel on email went very well. I didn’t take complete notes, as I was on the panel, but here’s what I got: The panel started with John Calkins, Assistant General Counsel from Northwestern, where they’ve implemented Google for students. A good quote: “Free is just one point on a spectrum between they pay us … Continue reading “[ICPL 2008] Outsourcing E-Mail: Technology and Policy”

Our panel on email went very well. I didn’t take complete notes, as I was on the panel, but here’s what I got:

The panel started with John Calkins, Assistant General Counsel from Northwestern, where they’ve implemented Google for students. A good quote: “Free is just one point on a spectrum between they pay us to we pay them.”

For FERPA they’re thinking that student email residing in a student account is not a record maintained by the University, and therefore would not be covered by FERPA. They also got Google to agree that any record that would be subject to FERPA at the university would be treated as such by Google. They hear that Google is not necessarily willing to agree to that now.

By and large their view is that the arrangement is between Google and the individual student (or alum), not between the university and the student.

90% of their recent graduating class elected to keep their google account with advertising as alumni.

Asbed Bedrossian from USC, which has also implemented Google for students, talked next. Another good quote: “We in the IT department are the transmission fluid in making things run smoothly.”

They use Shibboleth for allowing people to sign in to Google applications on the web with their USC NetID and password. They give people a different password for use if they want to use a non-web IMAP client to access email. (I need to ask Asbed about what they use for Google Talk access with non-web clients).

66% of people who create accounts forward their USC email address to Google. His theory on the rest is that they just want to use the other collaboration apps.

They haven’t had a lot of support issues, but people did start calling their help desk during the recent Google outage.

They use ga.usc.edu for their third level domain name.

They’re not migrating mail from existing USC accounts to Google – that turned out to not be a big deal to students at all and they’ve only had a couple of requests for it.

Another good quote: “Doing things is easy – thinking is hard.”

My slides from my part of the panel are here.

Google Docs go offline (that’s a good thing)

Google has started adding offline functionality to its online word processor (not for spreadsheets or presentations yet, though that’s sure to be coming). It’s rolling out to groups of IDs – hasn’t hit mine yet, but I’m looking forward to it. As long as I have an Internet connection, every change I make is saved … Continue reading “Google Docs go offline (that’s a good thing)”

Google has started adding offline functionality to its online word processor (not for spreadsheets or presentations yet, though that’s sure to be coming). It’s rolling out to groups of IDs – hasn’t hit mine yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

As long as I have an Internet connection, every change I make is saved to the cloud. When I lose my connection, I sacrifice some features, but I can still access my documents (for this initial release, you can view and edit word processing documents; right now we don’t support offline access to presentations or spreadsheets – see our help center for details). Everything I need is saved locally. And I do everything through my web browser, even when I’m offline (the goodness that Google Gears provides). When my connection comes back, my documents sync up again with the server.

It’s all pretty seamless: I don’t have to remember to save my documents locally before packing my laptop for a trip. I don’t have to remember to save my changes as soon as I get back online. And I don’t have to switch applications based on network connectivity. With the extra peace of mind, I can more fully rely on this tool for my important documents.

Google Sites plus Apps Team Edition – Google’s take on viral collaboration

Google released Google Sites yesterday morning and I spent a bit of time playing with it. Basically Sites is an easy web page builder, like a wiki, that makes it easy to collaborate on sites with team members. Sites makes it easy to just create and format text, embed Google documents and calendars, and can contain … Continue reading “Google Sites plus Apps Team Edition – Google’s take on viral collaboration”

google_sites.png

Google released Google Sites yesterday morning and I spent a bit of time playing with it.

Basically Sites is an easy web page builder, like a wiki, that makes it easy to collaborate on sites with team members. Sites makes it easy to just create and format text, embed Google documents and calendars, and can contain other Google Gadgets.

Sites is not available (at least yet) to individual Google account holders, but only as part of using Google Apps in a domain.

But that’s not much of a barrier, because with the recent release of Google Apps Team Edition, basically anyone  with an email address (but not Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) can participate in Google Apps for the domain that their email address is in. All you have to do is sign up with your email address (say oren@washington.edu) and you’ll be there using Google Apps Team Edition with everyone else who signed up in the washington.edu domain. Note, however that Google considers each subdomain as a different domain, so  for u.washington.edu is  a different domain from washington.edu, which is different than department.washington.edu – and you’ll be able to really collaborate with people within the specific domain you sign up for.  Within the specific apps you can grant different kinds of access to specific individuals within the domain (and you can choose them from a list) or to everybody in the domain, or make content visible to the world.

What’s this mean?

I read it as a move to take the burden of providing access to easy collaboration tools off of the central IT organization at a company (or university). No need to wait for that IT group to choose, fund, and implement a complex collaboration tool! You can start using these right away!

I’m not saying you should (and there are lots of unanswered questions about what kinds of information should be stored at places like Google) but … 56  69 people in the u.washington.edu domain since yesterday.