UMich Goes Google in October

By: Kari Rea

The University of Michigan has officially gone Google – and the transformation is almost complete. Students and faculty began the switch to Google Apps for Education in March and the traditional Maize and Blue mail servers will be turned off in the coming weeks. .
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“What’s happening on October first is we’re going to change mail routing. So anything sent to a student’s uniqname@umich email address will get sent to their M+Google account, instead of their current Maize and Blue account on webmail,” said Ryan Vis, the Communications, Training, and Support Lead for the M+Google project. . 

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According to the M+Google team, nearly 30,000 students and faculty have migrated their data since the project’s launch. However, nearly 24,000 users haven’t made the switch yet and risk losing their data on October first. “Some of that data will be going away, so we want them to migrate their data if they want to keep it. We can copy that data to Google,” explained Vis.

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M+Google is part of the NextGen Collaboration Project, which aims to encourage collaborative learning among students by equipping them with over forty Google applications and services. And the project’s goals reach beyond just Ann Arbor. “We’re giving a platform to campus to build on,” Vis said. “We really want to see how not just Ann Arbor, but all three campuses can build on that platform and leverage basically what we have for every single individual here – employee, student, or staff.”
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M+Google project members also say that Google is more than just Mail and Calendar. Students familiar with Google Docs will notice a change in the coming weeks as the Drive application is rolled out. According to Vis, “Google Drive will allow people to access all of their files no matter where they are. Either you’re on the browser, you’re on your computer, or if you’re on your smart phone, all of those files will be available.”
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Some students and faculty who migrated their data during the summer months expressed concerns for the compatibility between Apple Mail and their UMich email account. Project leaders say they have worked with Apple to correct the issue, and students experiencing compatibility problems can fix them by simply removing and re-adding their Michigan email account to Apple Mail. However, Vis says it’s still best to use a browser.
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“We want to encourage people to use the browser because that is where Google’s development efforts are focused. And a lot of the features you want in Google Mail are only available in the browser,” noted Vis.
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For questions about Google services or help with self-migration, students can call 4HELP, visit a campus computing site, talk to a PASS (Peer Academic Success Specialist) if living in a residence hall, or visit an ITS support center on campus.

Students can also stop by the M+Google “Migration Station” outside the Computer Showcase in the Union this Thursday, September 27th, from 10 am – 4 pm. M+Google team members will be on site to answer questions and help students migrate their data.
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For more information, visit google.umich.edu.
UPDATE: The university has extended the self-migration period because of concerns raised about accessibility issues with Google. The new deadline has yet to be determined, but the M+Google team still encourages all students and staff to migrate their data as soon as possible. Click here for more information on the extension.

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