Google vs. Microsoft: Middlebury Debates a Switch

Yes, a pillow fight between Google and Microsoft.

Middlebury is looking to switch to Google products for email, calendar, etc. But Microsoft and its band of Outlook-lovers won’t go down without a fight. How do you duke it out at this school?

A debate. Well, ten debates. LIS is sponsoring a week‘s worth of debates on current products vs. Google. And it’s up to you to weigh in — should Middlebury welcome the giant G into our lives? Below are the dates and times to ask the right questions (especially students who won’t all be back on campus yet) on everything from privacy to to-do lists. This is a big deal so go speak your mind or leave comments on this post.

UPDATE: these sessions have been postponed at the last minute. Read about why here.

calendar 8/31, 2-3 pm LIB105
email 8/31, 1-2 pm LIB105
support 8/31, 3-4 pm LIB145
groups/mailing lists 9/1, 2-3 pm LIB145
costs 9/1, 3-4 pm LIB145
tasks/ to do lists 9/2, 11-12 pm LIB145
security 9/2, 10-11 am LIB145
privacy 9/3, 10-11 am LIB145
administration 9/3, 9-10 am LIB145
sites, docs, chat, etc. 9/3, 11-12 pm LIB145
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14 thoughts on “Google vs. Microsoft: Middlebury Debates a Switch

  1. WORST IDEA EVER!

    Say goodbye to your privacy. Say good bye to message recall. Say goodbye to owning your data! Say goodbye to security as EVERYTHING will be stored on google servers. Say goodbye to all the features of Outlook. Say goodbye to meeting requests, etc.

    Say hello to ads, simplistic menus, less features, SLOWER functioning outlook due to the way it has to be setup, less privacy, more difficult setup of lists and emails, LESS help from the helpdesk as they can’t change settings as its ALL controlled by Google, no retrieval of deleted emails, etc.

    What do you think sounds better? I use both but for a corporate or school account you do not want google, its fine for personal stuff, but for things that matter, that need to be secure, that you need to own I would definetly say keep microsoft.

    What is comes down to is how else can the school cut their budgets – oh yes give away all control and switch to google.

  2. I want more open, active, and informal lists at Middlebury that I think Google facilitates with Google Groups and its nested emails.

    I want a list for Bio majors that I can quickly e-mail “Yo guys– does anyone have a copy of that Pechenik lab-writing guide I could borrow for an hour? Thanks.”

    I want a list for Wonnacott I can easily tell, “Hey all… Todd and I are playing guitar in the Gamut Room tonight–come stop by!” “Snowball fight outside Proctor at 3:30. Be there.” “I have an extra ticket to Kid Cudi–anyone want it for $5? First person to room 211 can have it. I’ll be there until dinner.”

    Hell, I don’t care if someone on the mailing list for my dorm sends me a link to a cute puppy video. Even if 10 different people reply with “awww” it’s still one line in my inbox. Gmail tabs or “nests” all replies to a particular parent message under the original. If I’m not interested in the discussion on the finer points of the cute puppy-ears and eyes and ‘wittle nose (or a New York Times article on gardens in Taiwan or a discussion on campus issues–substitute whatever you want) ALL the replies go away with one click. It’s great.

    Open, more active, less stuffy communication if you want it, same old same old if you don’t (just don’t subscribe to the group or simply delete threads you’re not interested in if you do).
    of Root tickets

    Nested emails and easier groups are awesome. The archive and search is sweet too.

  3. I meant to say I’ve seen this style of communication through friends at other schools. It’s awesome–I’m totally jealous.

  4. Student: I am confused. You don’t want Google Apps and you don’t like Outlook, but want something else? If so, does it exist?

  5. Midd11.5-

    No, I do want Google Apps. Sorry if that wasn’t clear…. I think I said at the beginning of my post that Gmail’s nested emails and Google Groups would help encourage this whole ideal system I’m imagining at Midd/have seen elsewhere.

    Otherwise though, I do use Google’s calendar and Tasks app embedded in Gmail. I haven’t used Outlook’s equivalents of these things so can’t really say if they’re any better.

    I’m skeptical of Anomynous’ worries about privacies. I tend to think that anything we do on the internet isn’t really private and that any differences in security between Microsoft and Google are moot. Feel free, Anonymous, to point out otherwise–I’m talking out of my ass here at least a little bit. Do see Jeff Rehbach’s comments on the Midd-blog article linked above.

  6. Switching to Google would be wonderful! It’s so much more intuitive to use than outlook. The unified system of everything under google would make more sense to a generation that’s grown up with Google products.

  7. @Anomynous I’d just like to add a few points of clarification:

    – The education version of Google Apps does not include ads.

    – Google’s Calendar supports meeting requests. (I’ve been using them in the public GMail for about a year).

    – Message-recall doesn’t reliably work with our current email system anyway since many people (like me) forward their email to GMail or other email hosts. As soon as you hit send, the email speeds away through the internet never to come back.

    – Staff in LIS have access to Google-Apps admin panels that allow significant management abilities. These abilities are certainly not as extensive as when we host the email server ourselves, but account problems and many other common things can be handled by our staff.

    For reference, here is Google’s description of the Apps for Education offering:
    http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/university.html

    and their FAQ:
    https://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139019

    You may find particular interest in the page about privacy and security:
    http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=60762

  8. Adam’s comment demonstrates why you should show up for these presentations if you can make it, or follow the discussion online on the blog. Their purpose is to clear up any misconceptions about these two systems so we can make an informed choice.

    For instance, you’ll hear an in-depth presentation about the specifics of the privacy and data ownership contract we have with Google. You’ll also hear about the new features of Outlook 2010, which includes message threading like Gmail has.

    We want to make sure that, whatever choice we make, it is made for the right reasons rather than differences between these systems that don’t exist.

  9. I agree. Why spend more money changing everything when that money could be spent improving current systems and infrastructure. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

    Improve wireless, create more smart classrooms with smart boards, improve our website, give everyone the new version of office, update to windows 7, and for everyone’s sake get rid of segue and replace it with something like sharepoint which works 100 times better and would really benefit the community.

    Whether people like it or not most businesses use Microsoft so from a job training standpoint people would be better off learning to use that than something like Google.

  10. Also I would like to know why LIS wants to do this project in the first place? Are they not busy enough and always complaining about lack of staff and reductions? Why take on yet another huge project?!

  11. Just the Google calendar features would be worth it. Gmail, google docs, calling from gmail, google voice and gwave are all great, but the calendar could make life so much simpler for busy Middkids–and faculty and staff, too. You can have your calendar all in one place (rather than in sticky notes all over your desk), AND you can add/invite other people’s calendars. Finding out what’s happening on campus wouldnt be just limited to the unreliable go/events page or the cards in the dining hall, but instead would all be collated in one place. Any level of group–from your friends to your Commons to your clubs–can easily organize without six hundred emails.

    And even if you send six hundred emails, they’re all under one line in gmail! Oh, the convenience!

    Also, I’m sure Google would be cheaper for us than outlook.

  12. That calendar is available in outlook and its 10 times better. We’ve had that for years just no one uses it. Why would that change with google?

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