LakerApps Update
Switch now to LakerApps? Here are top 3 reasons

More than 8,500 campus e-mail accounts have switched to the new, multifeatured Google suite called LakerApps. But with summer ending and a Sept. 30 deadline creeping closer, there are many hundreds of active users left to migrate.

Chief Technology Officer Joe Moreau said regardless of why users have not made the switch, he doesn’t want the drop-dead date to be the prime mover for anyone.

“The most important reason to switch is users are, whenever they choose to migrate, going to have access to a tremendous variety of tools they don’t have right now,” Moreau said.

The tools include the popular Gmail package, a collaborative and colorful calendar, easily sharable documents, substantial online file storage, and online chat integrated with the e-mail window.

“The word I’ve heard from folks is, ‘It takes a little getting used to, but now that I’m into it, I like it,’” Moreau said.

Summer timing

Another reason to switch? It’s still summer, with the season’s—for most campus computer users—slower pace. The start of the fall semester is less than two weeks away. Many students, faculty and staff have already made the move, though the 8,500 count includes inactive e-mail accounts, Moreau said.

The final Top 3 reason to switch: “On Oct. 1, people who aren’t moved are going to get moved,” Moreau said. “That’s a hard and fast deadline.”

Which brings up the No. 1 reason some folks are procrastinating—cleanup. “People who keep a lot of things don’t want to think about things to keep and in what format,” the CTO said. “The user has decisions to make about what to keep and what to toss. If you have e-mail in local folders on the hard disk, you’re probably fine. Just leave it in there.”

There are other reasons to join the LakerApps generation, including training workshops and the stability of the new platform compared with the former webmail package. Moreau called LakerApps “tenfold more stable.”

Google’s calendar—no previous application has caught on widely on campus—is intuitive and as private or public as the user and his or her colleagues want. Document sharing is just as easy.

Cloud computing—sharing software, processing capability and vast storage resources over the Internet—has its critics. Privacy and security are two issues Google constantly confronts, generally successfully so far.

Moreau said a team of about 50 people around campus working with the Computer Technology Advisory Board looked long and hard at the available options, including Microsoft Live for Education, as well as Google Apps for Education. There was a very strong consensus for the latter, he said. CNNmoney.com reported in May that 60 percent of colleges and universities with hosted e-mail—including Brown, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Notre Dame and many more—use Google Apps, representing more than 8 million students.

Resourseful reasons

“The common discussion among CTOs on college campuses is Google has far superior resources to almost any college in the country to secure our resources and content,” Moreau said. “They have hundreds of employees to our relatively few. It’s a no-brainer from that standpoint.”

He was more reflective on the issue of protecting college data from subpoena and other potentially intrusive actions.

“From a privacy standpoint, that’s where we’re going to want to continue to work with Google and monitor their practices and policies,” he said. Google has diligently defended its customers, Moreau said, and has signed a strongly worded contract not to misappropriate college data for its own uses.

“I think we’ve chosen a superb platform for communication and collaboration that will enable users in ways they haven’t had before,” Moreau said. “It will enhance our jobs, relationships among colleagues and connections with students.”

Follow this link to join Laker Apps: http://www.oswego.edu/cts/google/start.html.

(Posted: Aug 13, 2010)