The Benefits of Gmail and Google Calendar
Free up IT resources
With email supported and maintained by Google, IT staff across the University will have more time to focus on improving their existing services and starting new initiatives to improve research and teaching.
Smooth transition from existing email service
With Gmail as the centralized email system, Google has a number of applications that can help you transfer email from your current account to Gmail. If your email is currently stored on the central email servers, it can be moved to your new Gmail account. If you are currently on a department's Microsoft Exchange email system, Google provides options to facilitate the transition for you and your IT staff.
More space for your mail
With Gmail, you have a whopping 25 gigabytes of storage space. That's about 25 times more space than AICT currently provides. With that amount of space, you can store many years worth of email. Thanks to Google's commitment to continually add to your storage space, you may never run out.
Effective Organization of Email
Gmail uses labels to help you organize your messages. An email can have several labels, so you're not forced to choose one particular folder for messages. You can also create filters to automatically manage incoming mail. Starring messages is another way you can organize your inbox. Have you ever had to sort through a large number of messages with the same subject in order to find a specific detail? With Gmail all replies to a message are grouped together in a Conversation. Still can't find the email you are looking for? Harness the power of Google to search through your email and find what you need when you need it.
The University of Alberta currently spends a great deal of money to provide a central email service. Along with this central service, there are roughly 30 other email services operated at either a departmental or faculty level. Each of these systems has a real cost in terms of hardware, software, licensing and people time. Gmail's price tag is $0.
Let your colleagues, students, classmates, or friends see your calendar, and view schedules that others have shared with you. With Google Calendar sharing, you do not have to worry about calling and/or emailing participants numerous times to schedule an event. When you know when everyone is free or busy, scheduling is a snap. You can also send invitations to your events using Google Calendar and track their RSVPs by email.
Google Calendar has customizable reminders so you will never forget a meeting, appointment, assignment, or exam. You choose to receive your event reminders via SMS messages, emails, or popups within Google Calendar itself.
Synchronize Your Life
Not only does Google Calendar help you get in sync with others, it can be synced with other computers and electronic devices. Sync with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird to use Google Calendar on different computers. With two-way syncing to your mobile phone's built-in calendar or a mobile version of Google Calendar that's made for the small screen, you can access your calendar while you're away from your desk.
Calendar Access Whenever You Need It
Google Calendar allows you to see your schedule even if you do not have access to the internet. With offline access, you can view a read-only version of your calendar no matter where you are.
It's Free As Well!
The same expensive servers that run the many email services at the University also manage various incompatible calendaring solutions. Not only is this expensive, it does not solve the problem of a universal and consistent solution for every member of the University community. Google Calendar will allow us to schedule and organize between departments, students, faculties, and staff whenever we need to. Did we mention it's free?
But wait, there's more!
The fun doesn't end with Gmail and Google Calendar. There are three more apps in the Google Apps suite. Create and collaborate with others on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations using Google Docs. Use Google Sites to create a website to share lecture and lab notes with your students or publish a paper you want to share with colleagues. Finally, use Google Talk to keep in touch with and check the availability of contacts and get quick answers to those questions that are just too small for and slow to do by email.
With Google Docs you can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online. Need to edit a document that you created on your computer or in a lab? With Google Docs, you can upload many popular file formats from programs like: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Exel, Microsoft PowerPoint, OpenOffice Writer and OpenOffice Calc. Share your documents with others to collaborate on group projects using a familiar editing toolbars. When you are finished, save a copy online and or save it onto your computer.
Use Google sites to create a web space. Create your own site and fill it with your own content or with information from other Google applications. Sound difficult? Well it is not thanks to features like single-click page creation and templates, not to mention an interface that allows you edit your site as easily as editing a document so there is no complicated HTML or CSS scripting. Because it is a Google application, it is easy to embed it with all sorts of rich content like videos, docs, spreadsheets, presentations, photo slide shows, and calendars from other Google products.
Have you ever gone to the trouble of opening your email application, writing a email to ask a quick/time sensitive question and then waiting for an answer only to find that the reciepiant was no longer at a computer leaving you stuck to sort things out on your own? Email just isn't the best method to communicate some times. Some times what is needed is a way to talk with somebody in real time. With Google Talk, you can Send instant messages from inside your Gmail screen. Chat with collegues and friends in real time using Google Talk, which allows you to see when your contacts are online so you can send them a message instantly.