Google mail to have more space, better features for students

Staged rollouts will begin Aug. 30 for existing undergraduate students at the University of Illinois to switch from CITES Express Email to Google Apps @ Illinois, MS Live @ Illinois or both, according to a Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services, or CITES, press release. Students will have until Nov. 15 to move their e-mail accounts to the new clients or another third-party service.

Incoming freshmen have already been integrated into the Google Apps @ Illinois service; however, faculty, staff and graduate students will stay with CITES Express Email until an on-campus Microsoft Exchange 2010 service is offered later this year.

The decision to switch to Google and Microsoft e-mailing services was made after recommendation by the Campus Email and Calendaring Committee late last year.

Chuck Thompson, committee chair and assistant dean for information services, said the new services offer seven to 10 GB quotas, an increase from CITES Express Email’s 100 MB quota.

Included in the release were other features, such as a calendar, instant messaging, Google Docs, Microsoft Office Web Apps and Windows Live, which enables students to collaborate and store files online.

While outsourcing undergraduate students’ e-mails will save money for the University, Thompson said that was not its main concern.

“It will probably save us some money,” Thompson said. “It won’t necessarily be a lot … anything at the moment certainly helps. Money wasn’t really a primary factor in why the committee recommended the services. It was really a belief that it would be a better thing for the students.”

Kim Mok, junior in Business, said it is a good idea to make the switch. Already a Google mail user, she enjoys the extra features it has to offer.

“I don’t like CITES (Express Email) very much,” Mok said. “Every time I try to send out a lot of e-mails to large groups of people, most of them don’t get the e-mails because their inboxes are full.”

Dan Jacobsohn, former CITES director of application services, said in a press release last spring that undergraduate student e-mail addresses will not need to be changed.

“Your e-mail will reach you, no matter how you choose to set it up,” Jacobsohn said.

CITES officials said they anticipate most issues with the new e-mail services to be solved directly by Google or Microsoft, but certain support by the CITES Help Desk will still be available.