Two years ago, a selection committee at Tech decided on Google Apps as a replacement email system for the entire school. That process is culminating next month as the entire school transfers to Gmail.
“(Former SGA president Bo Hart) was practically doing cartwheels,” said Ron Jarrell, manager of E-Communications at Tech.
Student excitement from then to now hasn't dimmed.
“Google is a lot more user-friendly, and I’m glad I made the transition,” said Lindsay Skolrood, a junior communication major.
Since July 15, Tech faculty, staff and students have been encouraged to transfer to an entirely new interface, Google Apps for Education. The Gmail-based system will soon be school-wide and mandatory. WebMail will be rendered obsolete in the coming weeks.
Google Apps for Education boasts many features not previously available on WebMail. Google's well-known calendar, contacts, docs and sites are all included in the package in addition to the frequently used email.
“The first thing I noticed was all the new features and how much more savvy Google is than the old interface,” said Matt Larramore, a sophomore life sciences major. “So far, I have already used the chat function with whole groups of people.”
When sending a mass email to others with the note, “See attached document,” Larramore had forgotten to upload his attachment. Google picked up on the written error, alerting him and helped avoid confusion.
According to Kevin Davis, Tech's help desk manager, roughly 20,000 people have already converted to Gmail.
Between 500 and 1,000 Webmail users are moving over daily out of a total 65,000 active accounts. These accounts belong to students, faculty, staff, retirees and last year's alumni. Alumni beyond graduates of 2012 have already been transferred to Gmail.
With the new system, mail no longer has an expiration date; previously, all information was deleted after 90 days. 25 GB of storage comes with every account, along with a 25 MB size limit on emails. The new spam management system replaces Junkmail Manager.
“With WebMail, I had a constant problem with emails randomly going missing,” Skolrood said.
Increased user-friendliness can be attributed partially to the IMAP communication technology used by Gmail. Much like Apple's “iCloud” technology, work done on mobile devices syncs to the computer, and vice-versa. The POP technology used by WebMail means that when you read an email on one device it won't be recognized as already read on another.