Google to run Yale e-mail

The Horde e-mail server will soon be replaced by a new Google interface, custom-designed for Yale.

Information Technology Services administrators plan to join with Google Apps for Education to bring students, faculty and employees the Gmail e-mail service by the end of this month, said an undergraduate member of the Student Technology Collaborative who asked to remain anonymous because of ITS policy. The service, tentatively called “Bulldogs,” will also offer users a suite of tools for communication and collaboration — including Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Docs. The new interface will look like the standard Gmail layout, but without advertisements, the student said.

The Gmail-based service will gradually replace the University’s current e-mail client, Horde, the student said. The incoming class of 2014 will be the first to go directly to the new Google system, and current freshmen and sophomores will have to make the switch. Upperclassmen will have the option of keeping Horde, but the University plans to phase out Horde by spring of next year, the student said.

Planning for “Bulldogs” did not include computer science faculty, computer science professor Michael Fischer said, adding that he and his colleagues have not yet discussed the transition with ITS administrators.

“It’s a complicated issue, and I’ve just learned about the plans for the switch myself,” Fischer said. “They’re certainly not finalized yet, and we’re going to be holding discussions over the next few days to work things out.”

The transition to Google Apps will also give users more storage capacity — 7.4 gigabytes — than the two gigabytes that the University’s Pantheon data storage system currently offers, the student said. Students and faculty will be able to upload any file smaller than one gigabyte to the Gmail server and share it with other users. With Pantheon, students can upload files of no more than 200 megabytes, or one-fifth of a gigabyte.

Another student tech, who also asked to remain anonymous, said switching data to Google Apps would save Yale 12 gigabytes of on-site storage per student, totalling tens of thousands of gigabytes’ worth of data.

“Now [Yale] can host it all off-site and allow Google to maintain it for them,” the second student said in an e-mail. “The extra space can be reallocated or shut down to save money.”

Yale’s in-house disc space will then be given to only faculty or graduate students who need large amounts of data storage for academic purposes, the first student said.

Another factor in the decision to make the switch, the student said, was Gmail’s user-friendly interface.

“Since settings for ‘Bulldogs’ will be identical to Gmail settings, e-mail forwarding and the use of e-mail clients (such as Thunderbird or Outlook) will be easy,” the second student said in an e-mail.

An ITS survey conducted in fall 2008 revealed that 20 percent of undergraduate and graduate students forwarded their mail to alternate e-mail providers such as Gmail and Yahoo.

Google Apps for Education currently provides e-mail services to more than 2,000 colleges and universities, including Brown, Northwestern, Cornell, Notre Dame and Georgetown, according to an August 2009 article in Time magazine. The free service, according to the article, has rapidly grown in popularity in an era of budget cuts, allowing administrators to cut storage costs while providing users with a simple and familiar interface and increased security.

Google Apps for Education spokeswoman Aviva Gilbert, Yale Director of Instructional Computing Edward Kairiss, Senior Director for Academic Media and Technology Charles Powell, Senior Director of ITS Infrastructure Services Joseph Paolillo, STC assistant manager Adam Bray, and four undergraduate members of the STC declined to comment for this article. Director of Information Technology Services Philip Long, STC manager Loriann Higashi and STC assistant manager Erin Scott were unavailable for comment. On Monday evening, in an e-mail obtained by the News, Higashi reminded STC employees not to talk to the press about technology issues.


  • Y

    It’s about time Yale switched out of the Horde system to the Google one…

  • Richard

    We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.

  • Y11

    SUCH A WIN. horde is so terrible i can’t believe anyone actually uses it. by contrast, gmail is great.

  • ’12

    Finally. Why didn’t we do this sooner?

  • ’11

    it feels so odd to see the IT department do something useful. how much does this save them on systems and personnel? and who do we thank for this?

  • Law ’12

    Is anyone worried at all about Google gathering data on Yale users?

  • 42

    Hmm, the only quotes are from people who wish to remain anonymous. Yeah, I’m sure this news is 100% accurate. Chalk another one up for the Yale Inquirer, err, I mean the Yale Daily News.

  • George

    There goes our privacy. All our data belongs to Google now.

  • Rory

    What’s this about employees? What is happening with exchange?

  • Privacy

    But how much of our privacy ISN’T on Facebook already?

  • privacy?

    @8: all your data has BELONGED to Google for a long time; you haven’t heard?

  • yale alum ’08

    for god’s sake, when are courts going to finally issue an injunction against google? wake up people, google makes our lives easier at a big expense: privacy. google is a for profit corporation and fast forming a monopoly on the world’s digital information. their number one priority is advertising dollars. Their ubiquitous presence symbolizes a growing dilution of quality and control of information; they are taking the world’s information, which is supposed to be available to the public, and slowly privatizing it.

  • yale ’08

    Google is not in the public’s interest. They have become an advertising-driven corporation that is unwilling to limit itself:

    Just say no to Google

  • ’12

    In the digital age, our privacy is already in the hands of multinational corporations — get used to it. Personally, I’d rather trust Google with my security than Yale ITS, and I’d rather have Gmail than Horde!

  • TD ’96

    we use google at fairfield univ. where I am in grad school now. I love it..I wish we had this when I was an undergrad here.

  • Luke Bavarious

    Skynet is here.

  • George

    Google security? You mean the company that got hacked, and data stolen recently? And yeah, horde sucks. That’s why I use Outlook.

  • 10 years at Yale

    Hallelujah!!! We have needed this since the turn of the century. Horde is just so, so, so awefully slow. And cumbersome. And useless. Best news of the year.

  • Skynet

    Just wait until Google becomes sentient. No one can save us now.

    (except maybe John Connor)

  • @#14


    Despite the inefficiency of Horde, University controlled email servers in general do a much better job of filtering out unwanted content, protecting data, and ensuring security.

    I am taken aback by how willing people are to sell their rights and privacy for the sake of comfort and gadgets. Huxley’s Brave New World continues to impress me in its ability to so accurately portend our fate as a post-industrial society. Break out the Soma and put me to bed!

  • Recent Alum

    Great, the same organization that celebrates Darwin’s birthday but ignores Christmas year after year is now going to run Yale emails.

  • @#21


    Hasn’t an organization that celebrates Darwin’s birthday and ignores Christmas been running Yale’s emails this whole time? Wake up. Religion is over. Join the 21st century.

  • Yale ’08

    #22, what are you talking about? Yale respects religion and there are numerous Christmas events held at the university. Wake up yourself, religious is nowhere near over.

  • horde

    I want to keep horde! who would want to go to gmail?

  • Be wary of Google privacy
  • Alum

    Good luck trying to organize email with GMail. Its not the most widely accepted paridigm of dealing with large quantities of data. Search is cool, but not the best way to track your projects, class notes, etc.

  • Julio C. Ortega

    Horde it’s an impressive Collaboration Suite, if Yale can’t manage it, like we are seeing. Then it’s their fault.

    Advantages of moving to gmail:

    – Better reliability


    – Privacy concerns
    – No advanced auth options like Kerberos
    – Harder to customize in the long run
    – Primitive (in the sense of organizing) e-mail folder Concept
    – No “stackable” filters
    – No GPG Integration (from the web interface)
    – No local Addressbook server (would be great for people using an email client on campus)
    – No friendly and all-in-one interface to manage things that are internal to the University, like an user triying to change it’s university services passwords (other than email, of course)

    All in all, Horde _it’s_ good, but if you criticize it without knowing it’s full strenghts it’s your fault.

  • Marty

    VCU in Virginia has been using GMail to organize their email for 2 semesters now. Nothing new here…

  • Greg Barton

    Google has shown that it cannot be trusted with IP or technology 1) and 2) this is old news; many colleges and other institutions have already oursourced their email to Google. MAJOR MISTAKE, you watch….

  • SwiftVet

    What does esteemed alumnus John F. Kerry, aka think about this?

  • Felix

    Google is the global leader in invading people’s privacy and exploiting personal information for financial gain. Why Yale would allow this company to control its emails is beyond me. Might as well allow some spammer to operate your computer system.

  • Trustless

    Hey you libs at YALE, your privacy and your rights are gone forever

  • Justin Tyler

    Don’t be paranoid.

    Arizona State has been using Gmail for email accounts for over a year.

  • Mike

    LSU has been using this for years as well. Nothing special. Move along.

  • DeserveLiberty

    Here is an idea: Have each student procure their own email account and service from an independent, free enterprise vendor… Just like real people (not in college) do. Then, each student provides their email address to the school to use as a method of communicating with them.

    Of course, this would go against the grain of the spirits of collectivism and entitlement that seem to be required features of any college campus. However, there may be something to be learned by having individuals procure (in a competitive market) the service that best suits their needs balanced with the price that they are willing to pay for it.

    If there is a real business school there at Yale, perhaps someone there can expalin the remarkable benefits of free enterprise along with an ethic within individuals make direct economic choices for the services and products they consume – Quite a novel idea, these days.

  • Mosin Nagant

    Google is easily top dog. They provide about 75 percent of the external referrals for most websites. There is no point in putting up a website apart from Google. It’s do or die with Google. If we’re all very lucky, one of the other three will soon offer some serious competition. If we’re not lucky, we will be uploading our websites to Google’s servers by then, much like the bloggers do at (which was bought by Google in 2003). It would mean the end of the web as we know it.

  • student1776

    People who hate Google should not use it – and should otherwise stop being such whiney crybabies to those of us who find google very useful.

  • Erik

    Georgia Southern University has been using this for students for about a year and a half now and is looking at moving faculty/staff to it very shortly.

  • Jon

    So what. My school has had the GMail interface / API for years now. Way to catch up to IT trends there, Yale. I suppose 5 years from now Yale will proudly announce their first foray into XSS and social networking. Hope none of you are getting an IS degree from here. Sheesh.

  • Mosin Nagant

    @By student1776 “People who hate Google should not use it – and should otherwise stop being such whiney crybabies to those of us who find google very useful”.

    I am glad our Founding Fathers didnt think like that in 1776! ’nuff said!
    Do you like British Tory Tea “student1776″ ?

  • Brian

    Linked from drudge.

    Not sure why this is a big deal. We have had this at UVA since last year. It works fine.

  • ProfoundlyPensiveUnit

    All those who expressed distrust or hostility to Google and its products will be asked to report to their supervisors tomorrow at 9am local time. Your attitudes will be restored to factory settings. Drink no fluids after midnight. Prepare to spend 24 hours in treatment.

  • Skull Nbones

    We need the NSA to have a good record of all email produced and received by the nation’s future leaders. After all, we must confirm their worship of Lucifer if they hope to be president.

  • Jon

    Don’t expect them to accept responsibility when your email goes down or gets zapped – their tech support is non-existent.

  • George

    Google & NSA working together? It’s not realy a joke:
    And that’s just the only collaboration we’re hearing about. Makes you wonder how else they are working together.
    As for reliability of Google? Hah.

    And what’s sillier is how people complain about the Horde WebMail interface. Well, if you don’t like, don’t use it! ITS has easy instructions on how to setup Thunderbird, Outlook (yech), Entourage (double yech), Apple Mail (triple yech), and even Eudora (why bother?) to get your email: