Michigan Schools Get Google Apps For Education

    June 11, 2007

Google occasionally works out deals with individual universities, but it appears that the search engine company is starting to think big.  Not Texas-big, perhaps, but Michigan-big.  It’s in this latter state that Google intends to roll out Google Apps for Education.

“Michigan universities will be among the first to launch Google technology that will transform their college e-mail systems from relics of the 1990s into cutting-edge technology that provides the school and students thousands of dollars in free products,” reports Eric Morath of The Detroit News.

Two things caught my eye when I read that sentence; the first was the word “relics.”  Hyperbole has its uses, but Morath isn’t being cute, according to Jeff Pestun, an assistant director of information technology at Hope College.  “We’re coming from a Web-based e-mail system that was launched in the mid-to-late 90s,” Pestun told Morath.  “We couldn’t keep up with the arms race both in terms of the features and the disk space students were demanding.”

The second attention-getter was the phrase “thousands of dollars.”  Pestun estimates that colleges might have to spend as much as $300,000 in initial costs to acquire a system like Google’s.  Google Apps for Education is, to repeat a point, free.  The (small) catch comes as the company attempts to hook college students on its products.

There are worse fates, however, than seeing ads for Google’s many services.  Heck, a few lucky souls might even get job offers from Google’s offices in Michigan.  It looks like Google’s doing good things in the Great Lakes State.