Google Apps Switch-over

As you probably know, Google will soon become Wesleyan’s webmail provider (the switch is happening January 19th). Since I’ve heard a fair number of questions floated whenever it comes up in discussion and had a few questions about the switch myself, I asked some questions and got answers from Karen Warren, one the ITS employees in charge of the switch. I’m going to summarize those answers here and try to offer some additional general explanation in a question and answer format.

What’s going to change?
If you route your Wesleyan e-mail through Gmail already very little will change for you, except that Gmail access will be more seamless than before since you’ll no longer have to have your e-mail automatically forwarded or fetched with POP3. If you don’t use Gmail already the main difference for you will be that you’ll be using Gmail as a webmail interface rather than the current SquirrelMail.

Another major change is that e-mail will be hosted externally from Wesleyan rather than locally on servers owned and maintained by ITS. An advantage of this is the greatly increased storage space: each student will get the same amount of storage as a standard free Gmail account, which at the moment is more than 7GB, as opposed to the 100MB we’ve had up until now. One additional consequence of this is that any downtime will probably be Google’s fault rather than ITS’s. Unless Gmail starts going down a whole lot more often than it does now this will probably be a change for the better.

[edit by Sam]: E-mail addresses will remain the same.

Can I opt out of the switch?
Yes. If you for some reason want to opt out of the switchover, you must do so by 5pm, January 14th. There’s a link—’Gmail Opt Out’—to do so in your portfolio. If you choose to opt out, you may opt back in at any time. However, you may not go back to using Wesleyan-hosted e-mail once the switch has been made.

What will the EULA/Privacy Policy look like?
Google’s general education contract is here. However, Wesleyan has been negotiating with Google to make some changes to the agreement, and those are not yet finalized, and so are not available online. I have been told that they will be made available when possible.

You will not have to accept any additional EULA when you first sign in to your Google Apps webmail. Additionally, all of Wesleyan’s policies will continue to apply.

Will there be ads?
For current students, no. For alumni, read on…

Will there be any change in account functionality post-graduation?
Service will remain essentially the same. Google reserves the right to add advertising to alumni accounts, but does not currently do so.

Please feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments. I’ll answer them myself if I can or get them answered if I can’t.

[EDIT] ITS has a blog with details about the switch to Google Apps, including instructions on opting out and instructional videos for moving your contacts, keeping the mail currently in your account, transferring any folders you’ve set up in webmail, and setting up mail clients.

[/EDIT by Justin, 2009-01-11 2:35 PM]

44 thoughts on “Google Apps Switch-over

  1. Anonymous

    Its easier to hack into a public gmail account then a secure tokenized enrypted schema with private key technology hosted on wesleyan webservers.

  2. Anonymous

    Its easier to hack into a public gmail account then a secure tokenized enrypted schema with private key technology hosted on wesleyan webservers.

  3. Anonymous

    All mail (including Sent Items, Drafts, or whatever other folders you may have) currently on Wesleyan’s systems will remain there for probably a semester before it is deleted.Your mail will *not* be copied over to Google’s servers automatically but there are a number of ways to do so and HelpDesk will be able to assist in this.There is no merging with existing gmail accounts – it’s basically a brand new, separate Gmail account. There might be a way via normal Gmail methods to link the two accounts, but that’s outside of the scope of this.There will be a number of ways to access the Wesleyan Gmail.* “Webmail” link in portfolio.* mail.gapps.wesleyan.edu* mail.google.com/a/wesleyan.eduAnd generally speaking if you have to ask why you would want to *not* move to Gmail, you’ll probably be happier *with* Gmail. For those who are curious as to why people would not embrace Gmail, the reasons range from privacy/tracking concerns to simple personal preference (for example, I dislike the web interface Gmail provides and loathe conversation grouping).

  4. Anonymous

    All mail (including Sent Items, Drafts, or whatever other folders you may have) currently on Wesleyan’s systems will remain there for probably a semester before it is deleted.

    Your mail will *not* be copied over to Google’s servers automatically but there are a number of ways to do so and HelpDesk will be able to assist in this.

    There is no merging with existing gmail accounts – it’s basically a brand new, separate Gmail account. There might be a way via normal Gmail methods to link the two accounts, but that’s outside of the scope of this.

    There will be a number of ways to access the Wesleyan Gmail.

    * “Webmail” link in portfolio.
    * mail.gapps.wesleyan.edu
    * mail.google.com/a/wesleyan.edu

    And generally speaking if you have to ask why you would want to *not* move to Gmail, you’ll probably be happier *with* Gmail.

    For those who are curious as to why people would not embrace Gmail, the reasons range from privacy/tracking concerns to simple personal preference (for example, I dislike the web interface Gmail provides and loathe conversation grouping).

  5. Anonymous

    how will this merge with existing gmail accounts?and how will it be accessed? will we still go to webmail.wesleyan.edu, or go somewhere else?

  6. Anonymous

    how will this merge with existing gmail accounts?

    and how will it be accessed? will we still go to webmail.wesleyan.edu, or go somewhere else?

  7. Anonymous

    Current forwards to Gmail or elsewhere will be canceled the day of cut over; you’ll have to reconfigure them within Google’s interface.Plans for alumni are being discussed I believe, but it’s probably safe to assume that it will eventually be offered if not made mandatory.Delivery of email and initial web-logins are both still dependent on Wesleyan systems being up for now.

  8. Anonymous

    Current forwards to Gmail or elsewhere will be canceled the day of cut over; you’ll have to reconfigure them within Google’s interface.

    Plans for alumni are being discussed I believe, but it’s probably safe to assume that it will eventually be offered if not made mandatory.

    Delivery of email and initial web-logins are both still dependent on Wesleyan systems being up for now.

  9. Anonymous

    Also, there’s that whole thing about keeping your e-mails on some company’s servers rather than Wesleyan’s. I’m not bothered by it, but some people are.

  10. Anonymous

    Also, there’s that whole thing about keeping your e-mails on some company’s servers rather than Wesleyan’s. I’m not bothered by it, but some people are.

  11. Sam

    1:19, the only time you wouldn’t be able to get to your Gmail account would be if either Wesleyan’s internal network failed or if Wesleyan lost its connection to the internet. In either case you’d still be able to access your e-mail from outside Wesleyan, and both are significantly less likely than e-portfolio/webmail going down by themselves.

  12. Sam

    1:19, the only time you wouldn’t be able to get to your Gmail account would be if either Wesleyan’s internal network failed or if Wesleyan lost its connection to the internet. In either case you’d still be able to access your e-mail from outside Wesleyan, and both are significantly less likely than e-portfolio/webmail going down by themselves.

  13. Anonymous

    umm, email is down today, that’s why you can’t get to it.besides that yea, an email would have been nice.

  14. Anonymous

    umm, email is down today, that’s why you can’t get to it.

    besides that yea, an email would have been nice.

  15. Anonymous

    You can actually use pine with Gmail w/o a problem, there’s just no plans to extend the Wesleyan pine service to point to people’s gmail accounts. But if you’re really a pine junkie, you can set it up yourself, though the general caveats about Google IMAP being slow and a little non-standard/odd apply.As far as downtime of the Wesleyan mail service by itself, the downtime between Google Apps and Wesleyan mail service proper is about equal discounting things like other systems failing making it impossible to get mail.. most of which will affect Gmail functionality in a similar fashion in the future.

  16. Anonymous

    You can actually use pine with Gmail w/o a problem, there’s just no plans to extend the Wesleyan pine service to point to people’s gmail accounts. But if you’re really a pine junkie, you can set it up yourself, though the general caveats about Google IMAP being slow and a little non-standard/odd apply.

    As far as downtime of the Wesleyan mail service by itself, the downtime between Google Apps and Wesleyan mail service proper is about equal discounting things like other systems failing making it impossible to get mail.. most of which will affect Gmail functionality in a similar fashion in the future.

  17. Anonymous

    while i dont think ITS sucks, I do understand what 11:21 means. even with the emails and the website, im not sure why, but it wasnt very clear to me what exactly this change entailed until i read this wesleying post.

  18. Anonymous

    while i dont think ITS sucks, I do understand what 11:21 means. even with the emails and the website, im not sure why, but it wasnt very clear to me what exactly this change entailed until i read this wesleying post.

  19. Isaac

    @10:53 for almost all students, no.Reasons to not switch:1) A few people might enjoy using PINE, which is a very fast terminal based email client (it’s text only). But if you don’t know what this is, it’s not a reason to opt-out.2) If you primarily check your email with thunderbird or outlook, Gmail IMAP is a little slower than wesleyan IMAP. However, gmail breaks less often, so I think even this is not a good reason to opt-out.Otherwise dunno. Maybe if you’re nostalgic?

  20. Isaac

    @10:53 for almost all students, no.

    Reasons to not switch:
    1) A few people might enjoy using PINE, which is a very fast terminal based email client (it’s text only). But if you don’t know what this is, it’s not a reason to opt-out.
    2) If you primarily check your email with thunderbird or outlook, Gmail IMAP is a little slower than wesleyan IMAP. However, gmail breaks less often, so I think even this is not a good reason to opt-out.

    Otherwise dunno. Maybe if you’re nostalgic?

  21. Anonymous

    It’s it interesting that the most competent and clear information is available at wesleying, rather than from the university. So far we have received one (1) email informing us of the switch, and have had a semi-broken eportfolio link.Great job, ITS! you really suck.

  22. Anonymous

    It’s it interesting that the most competent and clear information is available at wesleying, rather than from the university. So far we have received one (1) email informing us of the switch, and have had a semi-broken eportfolio link.

    Great job, ITS! you really suck.

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