UMass discontinuing Google Apps service

It’s not often to hear Google has failed at anything, but according to the University of Massachusetts’ Office of Information Technology (OIT), the Google Apps service offered at the beginning of the school year has failed to catch on with students, reports the Daily Collegian. UMass officials sent a campus-wide eMail in early April announcing that undergraduate students no longer can sign up for Google Apps and that the service eventually will be phased out completely—an exceedingly rare and potentially unprecedented move, according to Google. The reason for discontinuing Google Apps, according to OIT, is the low adoption and usage rates among undergraduate students since the service was introduced in September 2009. In the eight months since Google Apps became available on campus, around 7 percent of the University’s 20,000 undergrads have switched from the traditional university-provided eMail service, UMail, to Google Apps, and “only a small number” of that 7 percent log in frequently, OIT said in the eMail. Last spring, when UMass first announced plans to offer Google Apps, it hoped the service would allow the campus community to connect with one another more easily. However, security concerns arose as UMass continued to explore the service, and shortly before opening Google Apps to undergrads, the university decided not to offer it to faculty or staff as it had originally planned. A Google spokesman called the school’s decision to pull the plug on Google Apps “exceedingly unusual,” but earlier this month UC-Davis also ended its evaluation of Gmail as the official eMail program for its 30,000 faculty and staff members …

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