Work among campus units, with other universities, and with the private sector increasingly rely on collaboration tools to facilitate communication and support the sharing of information anytime, any place, and with anyone in the world via the Internet. Following a comprehensive assessment of the current state of computing on the Ann Arbor campus, the university initiated a project as part of its NextGen Initiative to improve U-M's collaboration environment as well as reduce redundancy and cost inefficiencies by consolidating email and calendaring. After an extensive evaluation process, U-M chose Google in January 2011 to provide U-M students, faculty, and staff with a wide variety of tools to improve collaboration. The project began in the spring of 2012 and was completed that fall. It is currently the most significant campus-wide computing service not hosted by U-M.
The core tools include Mail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Sites, and Contacts. Many additional apps are available, such as Blogger, Google+, and YouTube. These other applications are active with minimal or no formal support.
Except for some limited specialty features--such as enhanced security and archiving--Google Apps for Education is provided at no charge to U-M. The business case cost analysis and financial projections estimate that for an initial investment of $1.8 million the university will realize ongoing cost savings of approximately $750,000 annually. Savings are achieved through the elimination of non-productive, redundant services, some decrease in infrastructure expenditures, and by leveraging the delivery options of Google's cloud computing services.
The university is developing an IT funding and chargeback model that will rework the way in which IT is funded on campus. However, until that funding model is implemented there will be no charge to units for Google.
Due to various federal regulations that control how regulated data are handled, Health System Exchange users and some research units do not use Google email and calendar. However, these users have accounts with access to the rest of the Google suite of collaboration tools, though their use is also subject to restricted data policies.
The core tools (Mail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Sites, and Contacts) are all supported by the ITS Service Center. Any additional apps turned on (YouTube, Blogger, Google+, etc.) receive only minimal support. However, there is a vast amount of support and training materials available for all the apps on Google's own pages. In addition, individual units may provide support to their own users.
Our Contact Us/Get Help page has this info.
A Google support document/error message tells me to contact my "Google Administrators" -- what do I do?
If you receive this message, please contact 734-764-HELP (4357) or 4HELP@umich.edu.
Google has a lot going on and with so many apps available on your M+Google account, new features are released frequently. Some changes are wide-ranging and impactful. Many are minor and are implemented with little effect to users. With all that activity, it’s not realistic (or necessary) to communicate every change in Google Apps to campus.
Outages and Service Disruptions
As with all ITS services, we will post notices of outages and service disruptions to status.its.umich.edu as soon as we know about them. (Notices posted there are also sent to the Front Line Notify (fln) email list.) Google posts outage information for their products at the Google Apps Status Dashboard, where you can also subscribe via RSS or email to get alerts directly from Google.
Once a notice has been posted to the ITS Status Page, we also post to the M+Google site Updates and Announcements page (which you can subscribe to via RSS feed), our Google+ page, and to the U-M Collaboration Forum. We’ll also coordinate with other ITS communication channels such as Facebook and Twitter when appropriate. We encourage you to subscribe to one or more of these sources to get notified of outages and disruptions.
New Features, Enhancements, and Known Issues
When new features, enhancements, or known issues are discovered here on campus or are announced by Google, we’ll post to many of the same channels mentioned above. (If the change is significant enough—such as when the Mail interface changed—we’ll also post a notice to status.its.umich.edu.) In addition, a summary of recent updates is included in each edition of the Michigan IT Newsletter. If we know about significant changes far enough in advance, we’ll also publish articles in the Michigan IT Newsletter and post to other social media sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
What We've Chosen Not To Do
Communications have to be timely, but they also need to be measured. To keep the volume of notifications, emails, and posts down, we’ve chosen not to do some things:
There are a few ways you can access your account. Note that for your first log in only, you will be presented with a Terms of Service page. This agreement gives you access to Google email, calendar, the core apps, and a large group of additional services. (See the next question below for more info about Terms of Service.)
Why are there Google features I cannot use on my UMICH account?
Some Google Apps and features are not enabled for the UMICH domain based on a few factors. Google apps that deal with monetary transactions have, as a policy, not been enabled due to restrictions in our contract with Google. The M+Google team continues to review the Terms of Service for these apps and might enable them with approval from appropriate university officials. Other services are turned off based on their dependence on other disabled apps. For instance, some apps cannot be enabled due to the Wallet app being turned off. Any changes to the status of Google Apps will be posted to google.umich.edu, the U-M Collaboration Forum, or our Google+ Page.
The first time you log in to your new M+Google account you will be presented with the Terms of Service acceptance page that looks like this:
Because campus uses U-M's Weblogin system (known as Single Sign On or SSO) for accessing Google, we currently are not able to utilize the two-step verification system Google provides. The decision to use SSO was made during our move to Google services in consultation with many IT leaders on campus and the campus security team, both for the convenience of having to not learn another login and the security of having local control of the systems that provide the SSO service. We do, however, continue to request the ability to use Google's two-step verification with our SSO system to provide an additional layer of security for M+Google accounts. If Google ever provides that feature, we will widely announce its availability to campus.
I want to access my mail and/or calendar using a client (Outlook, iCal, Apple Mail, etc.) -- how do I do that?
U-M officially supports using the browser to access Google Services. If you want to use a client to access these services, that configuration is not be supported by ITS, but might be supported by your local IT (each unit has to elect to support clients). If you want to configure your clients on your own, please see the M+Google Accessibility page.
All new Ann Arbor and Dearborn students, faculty and staff get an M+Google account that provides access to the Google suite of collaboration tools. If the person's position requires the use of Exchange because of regulated, sensitive data issues (such as Health System employees), they do not receive M+Google Mail and Calendar, but still have access to the other tools.
Hiring managers should follow their usual procedures for processing new employees and requesting computing services. See MCommunity: Sponsoring New Employees to Get them Uniqnames, UMIDs, and Access for more information.
What about employees or students who transfer between units or campuses?
Anyone who no longer has an Ann Arbor or Dearborn affiliation (for example, by transferring to UM-Flint) will lose all their Ann Arbor computing services (including M+Google) after 30 days, as they normally would.
New alumni are moved to a sub-org within the U-M Google domain. They retain their M+Google account with the same email address. (NOTE: The URLs for files in Drive do not change when an account is moved into the alumni sub-org.) The alumni sub-org is currently free of advertisements in the Core Apps because Google does not have the capability to deliver ads to specific groups within a domain. However, the terms of our agreement with Google stipulate that should they provide that capability at some point then alumni would see ads in the Core Apps.
Admins can transfer ownership of content, so materials from a former student, staff or faculty member could be retrieved if necessary.
You can use the VPN (Virtual Private Network) so that it appears as though your traffic is from U-M's IP range. Units with collaborators working overseas should notify their colleagues about this software before they lose access to their email. See the VPN Overview for additional information about the VPN.
If you exceed certain limits on your M+Google Mail account, Google may temporarily lock your account. For information about why your account might be locked, please see this Google support article. To unlock your temporary lock, visit the Google Unlock Page.
Some M+Google non-core services (such as Google+ or YouTube) also have minimum age requirements (13 in most cases) as part of their Terms of Service. If you are prompted upon sign up to supply your birth date to confirm your age, DO NOT enter a year that makes you below the minimum age requirement. Doing so will automatically lock you out of your account. U-M administrators are not able to override this lockout and you will need to re-activate your account directly through Google. More info here.
This is a matter of importance to U-M officials that is being addressed. The university is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and access for all members of the university community and to compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Google has made improvements to the accessibility of Google Apps for Education and continues to work on bettering the accessibility of its products. U-M is closely tracking these activities. Google provides specifics on the current status of accessibility of its products and its adherence to international standards on its website. For additional information see Accessibility features in Google Apps and this site's section on Resources for Accessibility.
How do I get past the redirect loop and "The app is currently unreachable" error?
Check to see if Chrome is set to "Block third-party cookies and site data" (in Settings> Show Advanced Settings...>> Privacy / Content settings... -> Cookies / "Block third-party cookies and site data")
If it is, you either need to:
Can we adjust Google's search results within the U-M domain to bring some items up before others when specific search criteria are entered?
No. The functionality provided by the Google search engine tool is governed by complex algorithms that take many different variables into account. The M+Google team is not able to influence what results come up in a search, even within the UMICH domain. (See How Search Works for more information.) However, there are ways to increase the value of your site's content that can improve your site's ranking. See Google's guide on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for helpful information. (Note that there are no advertisements in the M+Google core apps.)
I want to collect information and share it (i.e. using a Web form). Is there a Google App that will help me?
In Google Drive you can use Forms to generate a data collection form such as a survey or poll, share it with others via email, and gather their feedback in a spreadsheet that is automatically updated as responses come in.
How does the availability of Google apps affect other collaboration tools on campus (e.g., CTools, Lecture Tools, Sharepoint, Box, SiteMaker)?
The university views the use of collaboration tools as the cornerstone of a new and improved working environment at U-M that adds value to the way we work with each other on campus and with colleagues around the world. Google Apps is just one of the tools we use to collaborate. Other applications remain in the collaboration toolbox, and where possible, integrate with Google Apps to provide even greater benefits.
No, Microsoft Office continues to be a desktop standard at the university. Your unit may choose to use Office or Google Docs as the situation warrants.
Google Drive does not change any network drive. It is offered in addition to current file shares. However, collaborating via Google Drive is often easier and quicker than using shared network drives. You may find you don't need to use those drives as often.
For now, Google Voice (one number for phones and online voice mail) is not available. Should Google support the U-M voice systems at some point, we would then re-evaluate the use of Google Voice.
UMICH users get unlimited storage for Drive (including non-native file formats), Mail, and Google+ photos. Drive for Education is available to all Google Apps for Education users at no charge. In addition to unlimited storage, the updated service will also provide file uploads up to 5TB in size. Note that:
MCommunity groups can be either synced to Google as a Google Group or used to route mail to a shared account, but not both. See Shared Accounts for more information.
Please visit U-M's Safe Computing website for current information and details on Security & Privacy in the U-M Google environment.
It doesn't. Your M+Google account is managed separately from your personal Google account. However, you are able to integrate some functions if you choose. For example, you can forward mail and share calendars between accounts. To learn more about how to set up mail forwarding in your MCommunity profile see ITS Docs: Forwarding or Redirecting Your U-M E-Mail Using the MCommunity Directory and watch this short video.
Does Google read my email messages?
U-M's contract with Google allows Google, with a request from U-M's domain administrator, to access our accounts only to troubleshoot reported problems and to keep our service up and running. Google's privacy and security policy for enterprise accounts (like U-M's) is available on Google's website.