The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

80° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Google lobbying for UA WebMail takeover

    Although Google representatives are trying to get the UA to join Gmail as a replacement to the current e-mail system, university officials said they are hesitant to change just yet.

    Gmail is a Web mail service, like UA WebMail, that includes features the UA currently does not have, including a search feature for saved e-mails and instant messaging on the e-mail browser, said Rajen Sheth, product manager for Google Apps.

    “”We want more and more students using Google services and Google technology,”” Sheth said, adding that a university is the best place to get students involved.

    “”We’re taking a guarded look at it,”” said Mike Torregrossa, director of computing services at the UA’s Center for Computing and Information Technology. “”You have to wonder why companies are offering a free service like this.””

    “”Does Google use the data in the e-mail message for advertisement? We really haven’t checked into it.””
    – Mike Torregrossa,
    UA CCIT director of computing services

    Arizona State University is currently powered by Gmail and has been since October 2006, said Kari Barlow, assistant vice president of ASU’s University Technology Office.

    The UA has been contacted by Microsoft and Yahoo, who offer similar services, Torregrossa said. But a big concern is CCIT does not know how secure these services are.

    “”Does Google use the data in the e-mail message for advertisement?”” Torregrossa said. “”We really haven’t checked into it.””

    Some e-mails using the Google service will have advertisement at the bottom that fits with the topic of the e-mail, he said.

    Torregrossa said if UA students showed a big interest in Gmail, then the university would look into it more closely. However, he recently asked for opinions from students and administrators and there was no interest.

    “”We haven’t received any requests for it,”” Torregrossa said, adding that CCIT is keeping an eye on how the program performs at ASU.

    ASU has 57,000 students who are active Gmail users, Barlow said.

    “”We haven’t had any problems, and no significant outages,”” Barlow said. “”It’s working out great.””

    Other Gmail features allow students to check their e-mail on a mobile phone and allow students to store up to 2 gigabytes in an inbox, Sheth said.

    “”It’s a tremendous amount compared to most college e-mails,”” Sheth said.

    The UA e-mail service currently offers 250 megabytes, Torregrossa said.

    Gmail would still allow for e-mail addresses, interfaces would be customized for the university, and it would be free for students, Sheth said.

    “”I don’t think it would save us too much money,”” Torregrossa said. “”We would still have to maintain a system for faculty and staff.””

    The UA is not closed to the idea, and officials of CCIT are keeping their eye on the industry and watching ASU’s program to make sure there are no long-term negative effects.

    “”We want to know: Is this a fad or a trend?”” Torregrossa said.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search