Is the Googleverse is coming to Midd?
I ask that question, not wondering whether or not there’s a looming invasion of Middlebury by an army of the computer geeks who work at Google HQ’s in Mountain View, Calif. Rather, it’s in the hope that our clunky ol’ WebMail service might be facing its last semesters online. According to monstersandcritics.com, a long list of universities and corporations (GE, and Proctor and Gamble, for instance) already utilize Google’s email service for student and employee accounts, representing just a part of the spectrum of what Google, Inc. has to offer to corporations, colleges, and individuals. Is “going Google” really in Midd’s near future?
LIS says, “Highly likely.” Mike Roy, Dean of Library and Information Services, says that this year, LIS is already taking a look at what Google Apps for Higher Education has to offer. While he says that Middlebury’s implementation of the Gmail/Google-based email server is “highly likely” for students, and possibly for faculty and staff, too, the earliest launch date we can hope for is September 1, 2010.
But, with the launch of the new and improved Middlebury.edu design just on the horizon, it looks like that will have to whet our appetites for awesome-new-stuff-on-the-web until the start of the next academic year. Or is it?
You can make the switch yourself. Admittedly I write this an unabashed Mac user, slightly offended by the general unfriendliness of our current Microsoft-based WebMail towards my Safari or Firefox browser. Regardless, and since the earliest launch date of any new college-wide email service is still far off, it’s still a valid question for anyone to ask him or herself, “Am I getting all I can out of my email service?” Since most of us spend significant time arranging the business of life sorting through our inboxes, if you answered, “No,” maybe its a time for a personal switch.
Google, Gmail, and beyond! You can take a look at what Google has to say about their Apps for Education and at the list of Google products below, but as a satisfied “Googler” myself, given the ease-of-use, innovativeness, and cost-effectiveness of Google products in general, I highly recommend investing in the time to becoming part of the Googleverse–for individuals and the College alike. Here’s a sampling of the ingeniousness of our friends over at Google, Inc. . . .
- Gmail: For those of you who haven’t got the free account yet, get this. You’ll never have to delete email with the free GB, your @midd.edu email can be easily forwarded, and the options and features for inbox organization are endless, while never overwhelming. If you’re a hardcore-language-pledger abroad, they’ll even translate your messages into 36 different languages–automatically. Do it! Get an account at gmail.com.
- Google Docs: Create, save, and back up your papers online, accessible from any Internet connection. So great! Start now at documents.google.com.
- Google Reader: As much fun as it is to go to the pretty NYTimes.com, WSJ, or Huffington Post homepages and read the headlines of the day, this Google tool is a great way to make your time browsing online way more effective. Simply add the RSS feeds you like to keep up on (like MiddBlog, the Daily Beast, New Yorker, ESPN Headlines, to get you started), and see everything laid out in a nice, easy-to-read, no-frills list arranged almost like an email inbox. Genius! Learn more at reader.google.com.
The next generation of Google
- Google Blog and Gmail Blog: Interesting and helpful updates and articles on the newest product releases, features, and Google culture. Three thumbs up! Read at blog.google.com and gmailblog.blogspot.com.
- Google Squared: The concept lives up to its name: organize your search results into a row-and-column table. Great for quick price comparison while shopping, for finding quick stats on anything from demographics, to lists of world leaders, to restaurants in a given area, and more. Wow! Learn more here, or get started at google.com/squared.
- Google Latitude: Whether you’re making your Vermont rounds, traveling for vacation, or taking an excursion while abroad, and you want to let your peeps know exactly where you are, you can. Provided that you have a WiFi connection or internet service on your cell, you can use this neat little app to help your friends (or parents) let you know where your legs are taking you. How bout that! Take a look at google.com/latitude.
- Google Wave: Although the release date is TBA, and as a matter of fact, is probably still a bit into the moderately far future, Google is promising a completely revolutionary browser that will put any conception of web browsing, e-communication, social networking, user-based content, etc. into a simple, fast, and all-encompassing Internet experience. Exciting! Check it at wave.google.com.