Seniors, juniors, freshmen migrate to Gmail server
The switch followed a semester-long pilot program overseen by USG and the Office of Information Technology. One hundred and fifty students participated in the testing, which offered both a suite of Google applications and Microsoft Office 365, though only two of the testers chose to use Office.
Princeton Gmail offers students the ability to maintain Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk in order to better communicate within the University community. Joseph Karam, the manager of enterprise services at OIT, said Gmail offers students many benefits that the old webmail client did not.
“I think people are pretty satisfied with the service so far,” Karam said. “I haven’t heard any direct feedback, but larger mailboxes and familiarity with the interface are the biggest benefits for people.”
Additionally, OIT revamped the University voicemail and phone number system this summer. On Aug. 22, undergraduates received an email from OIT announcing a new unified messaging service called Tiger Voice that replaced the dormitory phone numbers students had to share with roommates and plug a phone into in order to access.
Karam noted that many students did not use the “aging voicemail system” but hopes that this new service will be more useful.
“Now you can also forward it to your cell phone, and you keep the number for all four years that you’re here so you don’t have to change numbers each time you switch rooms,” he said.
Students’ phone numbers are available through a search of the University directory and available to the public. However, in its email to students, OIT noted that the new system would “help you stay connected with other students and faculty while keeping your cell phone number private.”
USG IT committee chair Josh Chen ’14 noted that Gmail was the more popular choice during the pilot program because so many students were already familiar with the interface.
“The pilot testers were extremely satisfied with the new email systems they tested, with many remarking on how they already forwarded email to such services as Gmail and were excited to see OIT simplify that process with this project,” Chen said in an email.
OIT said it will begin contacting the Class of 2015 during the last week of September about the impending switch to Gmail. The transition will begin after the first week of classes in order to avoid disrupting student life during the often-stressful time.