Gmail move gets praise

Students and faculty are generally enthusiastic about University’s upcoming switch from Horde to Gmail webmail.

“I’m very excited to see how it turns out,” said Emmanuel Quartey ’12. “I already use Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Chat, so this change would make things a lot easier for me.”

Three students noted that they used third-party programs to read their University webmail.

“All my e-mail gets redirected to Apple Mail,” said Allison Hadley ’12. “But this change might cause me to go back to Yale’s way of doing things.”

Paul Hudak, master of Saybrook College and professor of computer science, praised the switch for its potential to offer a user-friendly interface to which many students and faculty are already accustomed.

“Speaking as a computer scientist, and a pragmatist, I think it’s a great decision—better service, better functionality, and at a lower cost,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Many students are already familiar with Google Calendar and Google Docs, so I would think they would welcome any change that makes those tools easier to use.”

But Stanley Eisenstat, the director of undergraduate studies in the computer science department, noted that students and faculty might have what he called a “reduced expectation of privacy” if their data were in the hands of Google, a third-party commercial organization.

Katie Rose, a program manager at the Office of Information Technologies of the University of Notre Dame, said students, faculty and IT officials were all in favor of the university’s switch to Gmail in fall 2008.

“We chose to move to Google for a couple of different reasons, one of them being that the students were specifically asking for it,” she said. “From our perspective, the ease of use of the tools that they were offering, as well as the integration of applications like calendars, document sharing and chat services, were clear benefits.”

Rose noted that since the change, Notre Dame e-mail users had reported a 36 percent increase in IT satisfaction and the IT office had saved $1.5 million in data storage and other expenses.

STC assistant manager Erin Scott declined to comment on this article. Director of Information Technology Services Philip Long, Senior Director for Academic Media and Technology Charles Powell and Senior Director of ITS Infrastructure Services Joseph Paolillo were unavailable for comment.

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