Macquarie University has announced that it will migrate its staff email accounts over to Gmail:
About 14 Australian universities have already outsourced their student email to Gmail or Microsoft’s Live@edu service, but this week Macquarie became the first to migrate staff to the so-called cloud in a deal with Gmail.
However, the university was concerned that data hosting in the US could have exposed it to the US Patriot Act, which allows security agencies to override privacy restrictions to combat terrorism. As a result, Google has agreed to host the data in the European Union.
I’m a big fan of Gmail, especially for community groups. Google Apps (which includes Gmail and Google Docs) is an excellent resource for small, activist organisations. It provides for free a suite of online services that would normally cost $1000s.
We currently use Google Apps to run the administration of LEAN. This allows us to maintain our own “hosted” email groups, to give state and national officers their own email addresses, and to host documents that can be collaboratively edited.
In my view, it makes sense for organisations to switch to Google for email and other services. It is convenient, secure and generally free (for non-profits).
If I have time, I’ll write a post on how Google Docs can be used by unions for remote coordination and collaboration.
UPDATE: Article on how unions can use Google Docs now online.