University of California ditches GMail

Last week the University of California CIO, Peter Siegel, and several IT council members sent a letter to staff that they have decided to end their GMail pilot. The goal was to make GMail the primary mail system for the 30,000 faculty and staff at the University. But the faculty expressed doubt that Google could keep their correspondences private.

Jeff Keltner, a business development manager in the Google Apps for Education group told InformationWeek "Obviously there's lots of opinions and voices on campuses. By and large, it's not typical of what we're seeing in the market. We're seeing lots of schools move their students and faculty onto Gmail," said Keltner, who also noted that UC Davis students are continuing to use the service and that Gmail users' privacy is protected by contractual assurances that govern data handling. "

Part of the concern expressed by the university was the privacy problems that came up with Google Buzz when it was released. When Google Buzz was released users who chose to enable it gave anyone they followed a peek into who they emailed and chatted with the most. This was fixed pretty quickly by Google but was still a factor in the Universities decision.

The University IT leaders also said that after review policies they found it may violate the UC Electronic Communications Policy which forbids the university from disclosing or examining  the contents of e-mails without the account holder's consent,and from distributing the e-mails to third parties.

This announcement is a blow to Google who is trying to expand it's presence in the enterprise market.

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76 Comments

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My uni here in cali still uses gmail. so glad that i have it. it's simple, fast, and it goes a great job especially when you have group projects and emails become a "conversation"

Google is the last company a person would trust for privacy. They are far worse than even Microsoft.

Buzz should have been an opt-in deal rather than an opt-out deal.
But still, Gmail for Education is a ****ton better than whatever the system was that this campus used before.

Makes perfect sense to me, google buzz was poorly implemented, and it is fairly pointless.

Would love it if they gave you the ability to disable it completely, but we're talking about google here...

I think there's a little bit of a difference between not deciding to continue with gmail after a pilot trial, and 'ditching gmail' altogether

that calif uni is full of fail, google will keep your stuff private if you ask,those it's should be shot and left for dead cuzz they fail.

soldier1st said,
that calif uni is full of fail, google will keep your stuff private if you ask,those it's should be shot and left for dead cuzz they fail.

The above comment is full of fail.

I think the real problem was the attitude of Google with their free users and corporate customers. Google think that they can treat in the same way (automatic support aka support-less) a free user, and business users and a vip users.

Magallanes said,
I think the real problem was the attitude of Google with their free users and corporate customers. Google think that they can treat in the same way (automatic support aka support-less) a free user, and business users and a vip users.
Of course they can. If you treat everyone like **** then who can complain.

The biggest problem is that some lawyers say that Google could claim ownership to any ideas transmitted through it's servers. Gmail was banned from use where I did research for this very reason.

boogerjones said,
The biggest problem is that some lawyers say that Google could claim ownership to any ideas transmitted through it's servers. Gmail was banned from use where I did research for this very reason.

Yea, exactly. People forget Google have the rights to everything you put in Gmail.

WooHoo!!! said,

Yea, exactly. People forget Google have the rights to everything you put in Gmail.

Negative! Consult a lawyer please before you make such crazy outlandish statements.

war said,
Negative! Consult a lawyer please before you make such crazy outlandish statements.

Indeed, some people really do talk out of their anuses on here.

Edited by Shiranui, May 7 2010, 4:20am :

They should look into moving to Zimbra. They were recently owned by Yahoo!, but have been purchased by Vmware. Its a great enterprise solution and can easily handle 30,000 users. I believe they have now gone over 50 million paid mailboxes. Many colleges such as Stanford and UCLA have moved to the platform.

I don't work for them, but have used the product for many years now.

We got moved over to Gmail from a on-campus exchange program. So much better. Before we could only have 15MB of webspace. Try emailing a few powerpoints to group members.

I think Google made a mistake and will not do it again. They quickly fixed the issue. Why not just have a meeting with Google assuring them their data will remain secure?

nubs said,
Why not just have a meeting with Google assuring them their data will remain secure?

You really think Google has the capability of offering any sort of privacy in any capacity?

C_Guy said,

You really think Google has the capability of offering any sort of privacy in any capacity?

Hell no!!

A couple years ago, my alma mater, Oakland University, switched to Gmail; so nice going from 100 MB (MB!) quotas to over 6 GB. Recently, I've noticed that CSU Fresno has switched to Gmail as well, and that's quite a bit nicer than the system they were using.

I can understand UC's concerns however, no one wants Google to accidental have access to sensitive IP information, and then inadvertently share it with others. However, on the grander scale, I don't think e-mail is that secure to begin with.

1759 said,
A couple years ago, my alma mater, Oakland University, switched to Gmail; so nice going from 100 MB (MB!) quotas to over 6 GB. Recently, I've noticed that CSU Fresno has switched to Gmail as well, and that's quite a bit nicer than the system they were using.

I can understand UC's concerns however, no one wants Google to accidental have access to sensitive IP information, and then inadvertently share it with others. However, on the grander scale, I don't think e-mail is that secure to begin with.

Email can be as secure as you want it to be. If a school wants to keep information shared between its faculty private and secure it can (as the email would never leave their servers). They can also ensure externally sent mail is secure with Secure Email and other options.

1759 said,
A couple years ago, my alma mater, Oakland University, switched to Gmail; so nice going from 100 MB (MB!) quotas to over 6 GB. Recently, I've noticed that CSU Fresno has switched to Gmail as well, and that's quite a bit nicer than the system they were using.

I can understand UC's concerns however, no one wants Google to accidental have access to sensitive IP information, and then inadvertently share it with others. However, on the grander scale, I don't think e-mail is that secure to begin with.

I don't understand why users need so much space for email, 6GB? Do you not delete anything, ever? Or are people tossing around emails with huge attachments today that I wasn't aware of?

GP007 said,

I don't understand why users need so much space for email, 6GB? Do you not delete anything, ever? Or are people tossing around emails with huge attachments today that I wasn't aware of?

Google hopes you won't delete it so they can mine more data

there was ever an expectation of privacy when using gmail? i thought this was outed in the news on this very website years ago in regards to the stipulations in the EULA which state google has every right to store and read and use anything you send or receive through gmail forever.
coupled with poorer than average security for this kind of service due to a gaping backdoor made for the use of the US government to read your emails, which was exploited by chinese hackers fairly recently in a very high profile incident.
what possible features or service could outweigh these cons?

What's the big deal? Some campuses have dropped Hotmail for Google as well, including the college I attend (just got rid of the hotmail alternative this year actually). Something tells me that people and organizations are going to use what best fits their needs.

Good for them. If I got work mails to check and my inbox was flooded with Buzz, Reader and Latitude messages I'd be ****ed too.

I don't understand why google doesn't allow companies to host their own google server(s) serving gmail, just like they do with the google search appliance.

Google can keep their IP secure by making it a "black box", and only giving away compiled files and not source code. I agree it might cost more to maintain having to get google engineers on site if it breaks, but it's still probably cheaper than managing your own microsoft email server for a large number of users. Allow the company to easily migrate their files to the "in the cloud" version if they choose, which would reduce costs possibly at the expense of privacy. Soon enough most companies would migrate if google doesn't get any more bad press.

We're launching Google Apps over at NC State University. Currently still in beta, and the only issue we have is people trying to use IMAP having to resync their account passwords.

I feel bad for that university. Not having to worry about storage quotas and much better tools is so much better than what we had before!

I love my gmail, but the buzz thing ****ed me off too. When you're responsible for other people, who wants to put others at risk?

I go to the University of Minnesota and we are currently launching Google Apps. I switched over to it a couple months ago and it is working well. I like it much more than the crappy email I had before.

-DanNY- said,
well it sure as hell is better than 30000 people on MS outlook!

surely exchange and outlook is specifically designed for Enterprise?

I don't understand what you mean.

-DanNY- said,
well it sure as hell is better than 30000 people on MS outlook!

Uh Exchange Server is made exactly for the point of having large number of mailboxes.... I fail to see your point?

neufuse said,

Uh Exchange Server is made exactly for the point of having large number of mailboxes.... I fail to see your point?

I think it was an anti microsoft troll attempt. trollfail.

-DanNY- said,
well it sure as hell is better than 30000 people on MS outlook!

By MS Outlook, he means the outlook.com mail service for universities. My school uses it and it blows.

0V3RS1GHT said,

By MS Outlook, he means the outlook.com mail service for universities. My school uses it and it blows.

Your school uses a beta mail service?

-DanNY- said,
Most students dont use Exhange. They either use hotmail, gmail, or yahoo, or even all the above.

Or Outlook Web Access, which is awesome. Exchange 2007, 2010 OWA is pretty slick.

Most of the Engineers at my school use Gmail. I myself use it also, and alot of colleagues of mines use gmail, and alot of times yahoo. Probably other places they might use outlook, although personally i would have to be force fed it to use it, i never did like outlook.

neufuse said,
Your school uses a beta mail service?

Victoria University in Wellington uses Outlook.com, moved to outlook around a year ago after the deprecated their own in house server.

Why do you think Google Buzz wasn't launched for Google Apps users at first? (Google Apps is the service that schools, businesses, etc. use to provide Gmail and other services on their domain.) In fact, it's STILL not available for Google Apps users. Buzz wouldn't have hit this school at all.

Indeed. But Google Apps costs money for large organizations like this, so perhaps the University was trying to go the free way?

Aaron44126 said,
Why do you think Google Buzz wasn't launched for Google Apps users at first? (Google Apps is the service that schools, businesses, etc. use to provide Gmail and other services on their domain.) In fact, it's STILL not available for Google Apps users. Buzz wouldn't have hit this school at all.

The Buzz debacle (despite the fact that it was never rolled out to Google Apps users) still violated the trust that a lot of people have with Google. If they willingly make a privacy goof like that, who's to say what else might happen?

The Gmail interface leaves a lot to be desired anyway, IMO.

excalpius said,
Indeed. But Google Apps costs money for large organizations like this, so perhaps the University was trying to go the free way?

I could be wrong but its free for Education. Plus Buzz isn't available on Google Apps users.

overkeel said,
The Buzz debacle (despite the fact that it was never rolled out to Google Apps users) still violated the trust that a lot of people have with Google. If they willingly make a privacy goof like that, who's to say what else might happen?

The Gmail interface leaves a lot to be desired anyway, IMO.

1. You obviously missed the point that features are rolled out to Gmail first, Apps later... for exactly this reason. If there's a goof to be made, it's made with the free "we'll take what we can get" customers as a Beta, then rolled out to Apps once it's been through the ringer a few million times.
2. Show me a better interface than Gmail... Hotmail is hideous, Yahoo tries to look like an application rather than a website and falls flat on it's face in the process.

vaximily said,
Hotmail is hideous

I rather like it - it loads instantly compared to gmail and is certainly better laid out. shrugs.

vaximily said,

1. You obviously missed the point that features are rolled out to Gmail first, Apps later... for exactly this reason. If there's a goof to be made, it's made with the free "we'll take what we can get" customers as a Beta, then rolled out to Apps once it's been through the ringer a few million times.
2. Show me a better interface than Gmail... Hotmail is hideous, Yahoo tries to look like an application rather than a website and falls flat on it's face in the process.

1.) You obviously missed the point that the goof shouldn't have been made in the first place (it was no accident.) Regardless of which user base was affected, it still inflicted damage on the company/customer relationship. Google is a brand and it's reputation was tarnished by Buzz.

If I ONLY buy apples at a grocery store and I see a news story that the same store is selling milk past the expiration date, my opinion of said store will still go down...despite the fact that I'm only interested in apples.

2.) Outlook Web Access using Internet Explorer.

vaximily said,

1. You obviously missed the point that features are rolled out to Gmail first, Apps later... for exactly this reason. If there's a goof to be made, it's made with the free "we'll take what we can get" customers as a Beta, then rolled out to Apps once it's been through the ringer a few million times.
2. Show me a better interface than Gmail... Hotmail is hideous, Yahoo tries to look like an application rather than a website and falls flat on it's face in the process.

However how many GMail users use it strictly in online mode?

Only Yahoo Mail (and that is almost entirely in the US) among the larger freemail providers doesn't offer a real offline mode itself (however, with eM Client, you *can* download and read Yahoo Mail offline, which is not a feature that Yahoo advertises in the US, despite that option being widely adverted overseas). GMail has *always* offered offline support (via both POP3 and IMAP), and Hotmail has done so for a decent stretch as well (via both Windows Mail/Live Mail and the Hotmail Connector for Outlook). Also, the other issue facing educational institutions (especially the University of California System) is that there may be legal reasons (or at least legal pressure) to keep communications functionality, and that includes e-mail, in-house, as opposed to outsourcing it. For all we know, Buzz may have simply given the Board of Regents an *out* (whereas the real reason came from Sacramento).

Sebianoti said,

By "dataz!" i suppose you mean Data?

Hm.. that's a tough one. I think he means "Da Taz".

Edited by 0V3RS1GHT, May 6 2010, 3:37pm :