Why Google Apps for Education?

Why Google Apps for Education?


JEFF: I’m Jeff. SAM: I’m Sam, and we’re
part of the Google Apps Education Team. JEFF: So, a lot of people have
asked us why we decided to start building applications
and really also to start offering them an organizational
or institutional context to
schools and businesses. And what we saw was this trend
evolving in the applications space where consumer technology
was evolving and innovating very, very rapidly. And so you look at the first
instant messaging, the first blog, the first wiki. Video sharing, mobile
technologies, virtual reality. And a lot of this was
really happening in the consumer space. And so we saw this increasing
trend of user satisfaction, of innovation, where things were
moving very quickly and consumers were very happy with
the technology they had access to at home. And we went out and we talked to
organizations, and we said, so what does the world
look like for you? And they were really facing
a variety of challenges. And the first was an explosion
of the volume of information people were dealing with. There was the number of
emails, the number of documents, was just increasing
at an exponential rate. And technology often
wasn’t keeping up. So people were really struggling
just to do simple tasks and keep track of all the
information they now had at their fingertips. The second real challenge
for users was around collaboration. And whereas most of the
applications we are using today were built for personal
productivity, a lot of the challenges we face today
are really about collaborating in a group. When I started trying to work
with my team or my class, it became really challenging. And the best example
of this is just collaborating on a document. If I’m in a class and working
on a group project with four of my friends, I might start
with a document. And I send it out to my four
friends, and three of them who are on the ball send
me back some edits. And I spend an hour or two
combining the edits and putting together version two. I send that back out to
everybody, and my three friends spend some more time
making some edits. They send it back to me. But I always have at least
one slow friend. My slow friend likes to come
back and send me revisions from two or three
versions before. And now I’m in a place where I’m
just struggling to try and bring together the work
everyone has done. This is just an example of
technology that hasn’t kept pace with the real challenges
facing users. On the IT side, we saw a
different set of challenges– really about complexity. There are solutions out here to
many of these challenges, but all of them are very costly
and complex to deploy and to manage. Really a nightmare
for an IT folks. And so we often say, what does
that environment look like for you today? And they say, well, we bought
PCs, and there’s some software we put on there. And then we started buying
systems. Email systems, directory systems, storage
systems, mobile systems, content databases,
spam filtering. And then, of course, once we
bought all this stuff, we realize it’s never allowed to go
down, as our president and our students are going
to Beijing and Shanghai and Mumbai. And so we go ahead and we buy
a second one of absolutely everything to make sure nothing
can ever go down. And then we spend our lives just
going around and patching and fixing and making sure
everything works. And Patch Day Tuesday rolls
around, and we go again and just fix everything. And what this really meant to
the institution was a lot of money that was not being
spent effectively. We weren’t effectively
leveraging the time, the energy, and the money we were
investing in information technology. The other thing it meant for our
users was that whereas we had seen this increasing trend
of satisfaction in the consumer space, we saw a much
leveler level of innovation and satisfaction with the
technologies we had access to at school. And so we at Google thought,
we can really help with this problem. And if we can bring some of
those Google technologies, the consumer innovation, into this
space, we can bring those trends back together and help
people be as happy with the technology they have access to
at school as they are with the technology they have
access to at home. SAM: We want you to take this
complex environment that you’ve been managing and replace
it with an environment managed by an outside provider
like Google. This provides you with all the
applications simply to you, like utility, accessible from
any internet connection, from any device. But this move is not
without precedent. 50 years ago, companies and
universities ran their own power plants. They had different voltages,
currents, plugs. You couldn’t take a device
from one and use it anywhere else. And people thought that electricity was mission critical. How could you allow anyone
else to manage it? Today, we wouldn’t dream
about managing our own electricity plants. What does this mean for you? As an organization, we see too
much IT time and effort and money really spent on focusing
on things that are not core to your business, and focusing more
on contextual services. This is not effective
for an organization. And so basically, by moving to
the Google model, you get to focus on the things that are
important to you– the things that are core to your
organization and that add value. We see really three key
benefits in the cloud computing model. The first is that you get to
leverage the infrastructure of the provider. In Google’s case, this means
massive data centers built for scalability, security,
and efficiency. We set out to build the
environment that runs google.com. And one of my favorite antidotes
is that when my users want to see if the
internet’s up and running, the site that they often go
to is google.com. The other key benefit of the
cloud computing model is it allows a new kind of real-time
collaboration that you’ve never been able to do before. Take the earlier document
example that Jeff was talking about. In this new world, the document
sits in the cloud, and everyone can be accessing
and working on that document and collaborating on it in
a real-time environment. The third key benefit is in the
old world, you spent a lot of time installing hardware,
installing and maintaining software. But really, this model is
all about innovation. It’s more about identity
management. You plug in once, and you get
all the innovation delivered to you in small packages
more frequently. So we consider ourselves a
services platform, and we open it up to a lot of APIs. Some of these are for things
like account management, for a single sign-on, for
mail migration. And we also support open
standards, which is really important in our world. JEFF: When people start talking
about outsourcing services and data, the first
questions that they come to us with are really around privacy
and security of data. I’d like to use a few examples
to tell you how we here at Google think about these
critical issues. The first example is
my grandfather. You can see him here. He’s a great guy– WWII vet. He still thinks that his money
is best buried in the backyard versus being in a bank. So he actually puts it in a tin
can and buries it under one of the trees in his yard. And he won’t tell me which one,
because he says he trusts me, but not quite that much. Now, most of us believe that our
money is much safer in a bank than it is buried
in the backyard. And we can get access to it from
lots of places, whether that’s a banking center
in London or the ATM around the corner. Another great example
is really travel. Most people feel safer driving
than they do flying. When statistics tell us that
you’re much more likely to arrive at your destination
unhurt taking a plane than you are a car. But there’s just something about
holding on to that wheel that makes us feel in control
and more safe. And we think security of
data is much the same. The reality is that though
while having that infrastructure in-house makes
you feel safe, a provider like Google, who operates in a much
larger scale, is able to secure that data much better
than you could yourself. So the question is really
about privacy. What is Google doing
with your data? And I’ll say four things to
you about privacy that are really commitments
from Google. First, we won’t share
your data. There are some obvious
exceptions to this rule provided by common sense and the
law, and I’ll go through those in a minute. Second, we’ll keep your data
as long as you like. We’re not going to delete it
because you haven’t accessed it in so long or edited
the document. On the other hand, if you want
to remove your data, we’ll remove from all of our active
servers, because if you don’t want a copy kept, we shouldn’t
be keeping one either. And finally, we’ll let you
take your data with you wherever you want to go– whether that means exporting a
document to Word or Excel or taking all of your mail and
calendar data with you to another service, we’re committed
to helping you take that with you wherever
you’d like. Now, there are a few exceptions
to the first rule, and I like to go through these
calling them the fine print on the big screen. The first exception is the most obvious: when a user consents. If you asked for us to share
your document or a calendar with a couple of your friends or
the entire world, we’ll go ahead and do that. Second, sometimes we have to
provide data to affiliates or subsidiaries for purposes
of processing. A great example of this is when
we provide data to Google Ireland for purposes of
processing in our European data centers. And sometimes, we have to
provide data to third parties for valid legal processes,
enforcement of our terms of service, to prevent
fraud, or protect against imminent threat. If you’d like to know more
about Google’s privacy policies, please visit
google.com/privacy. SAM: So what is Google Apps? We start with the Google Apps
platform, and then we add a bunch of collaboration tools. These include Google Docs, which
is our word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation
tools; Google Sites, a collaborative team working
environment; and the Google personalized start page, a
personalized ramp-up to all these tools that
we talk about. Then we add a bunch of
communication tools: Google Mail, Google Calendar,
and Google Talk. We also have a set of security
and compliance tools that we can add to the package for an
additional cost. So what is it that we give to education? Well, Google Apps Education
Edition is free for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. There’s no advertising for
faculty, staff, and students, and we give you 6.5 gigabytes
worth of storage– and that’s growing
on a daily basis. It’s at your domain, and it
comes with support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also give you access to those
extensibility APIs that we mentioned that allow you to
integrate with your existing system and build on top
of these tools. JEFF: We think Google Apps is
a great set of tools to help your students, staff, and
alumni more effectively communicate and collaborate. SAM: It allows you to simplify
your infrastructure and leverage all the great
innovations that Google brings out. For more information, please
visit our website.

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