Google hopes to decrease information overload at CSULB

Google presented the benefits of using Google Apps as the Cal State Long Beach e-mail service provider yesterday to a crowd of more than 50 people at the Walter Pyramid.

Janet Foster, associate vice president for Information and Technology Services, introduced Steven Butschi, a Google Apps enterprise online sales representative who hosted the presentation “Google Apps for Education” by Web conference.

“There seem to be three big problems facing students and their e-mail,” Butschi said. “There is an information overload, problems with collaboration and access.”

During the 45-minute presentation, Butschi described a series of benefits and applications that would be available to the CSULB community.

“Faculty, staff and students can use this for free with no advertising,” Butschi said. “It looks like Gmail, but you can keep your school ID.”

Other benefits of Google Apps are 7.4 gigabyte e-mail accounts, 24/7 support, e-mail security and increased access.

“Google has frequent small updates, so everyone is on the latest release,” Butschi said. “We have a 99.9 percent access guarantee. We upgrade while you are using the server and have no planned downtime.”

Currently more than seven million students, faculty and staff use Google Apps, so all of the kinks have been worked out, Butschi said.

Some of the current Google Apps users include the University of San Diego, University of Southern California, UC Davis, Kent State, Brown University and Utah State, according to the Google Apps Web page.

Butschi went on to discuss the other advantages of Google Apps.

“You can create a calendar and display it to other students in groups or classes to help make scheduling easier,” Butschi said. “You are also able to view the calendars of other people.”

Students can choose who has access to their calendar, Butschi said.

Another benefit, Butschi added, is that Google Apps would make it easier for students to collaborate on group writing assignments by allowing online editing. New applications would also give students greater control over how much others can view and edit their work.

Associated Student Inc. President Chris Chavez was at the event to observe the presentation.

“No matter what the campus chooses, it’s going to be lightyears ahead of where we are now,” Chavez said.

Chavez also addressed the concern of student privacy and academic integrity.

“[The school needs] to be able to detect cheating but maintain the privacy of students,” Chavez said. “I’m interested to see what Microsoft has to say.”

Some students also reacted positively to the presentation.

“I thought the presentation was really good. The products that Google is trying to integrate — Google Docs and Calendar — are really good,” said Khuong Ngo, a sophomore physics major. “The school would be better off with Google. ‘Micro-Live’ is trying to catch up to where Google is.”

Microsoft will make its presentation, “Microsoft Live@edu,” at the Walter Pyramid on Thursday at 10 a.m. 


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