Questions & Answers

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Background

What are the benefits of Google Apps for Education?

The goal of the NextGen Collaboration Project is to provide a powerful, web-based environment that supports U-M's leadership in teaching, learning and discovery; improve collaboration among faculty, students and staff (and colleagues around the world); and reduce operational costs.

What is included in the Google Apps suite at U-M?

The core tools include Google email, calendar, Docs and Sites. Over 40 additional apps are available and supported, such as Blogger, Google+, Moderator and Talk. These other applications are active with minimal or no formal support.

How much does this cost U-M?

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.

Are units charged for Google services?

The university is developing an IT funding and chargeback model that will rework the way in which IT is funded on campus. That project is slated for completion later this year. However, until that funding model is implemented there will be no charge to units for Google. 

Which groups of employees or units do not be get Google Apps?

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.

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Communications, Training & Support

What kind of training and support is available?

  • Training (including documentation and videos) is available in the left navigation menu of this site. This includes information on Google's site and some that is U-M specific.
  • The ITS Service Center is also available.

Are all the Google apps supported?

Email, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Blogger and Talk are all supported by the ITS Service Center. Any additional apps turned on (Moderator, Reader, 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 additional support to their own users.

How do I contact support?

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) Option 4 or 4HELP@umich.edu.

How can I get information about changes and updates?

Google has a lot going on and with over 40 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 that are 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 notice has been posted to the ITS Status Page, we also post to the M+Google site Updates and Announcements page, the M+Google 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 announced by Google, we’ll post to many of the same places. If the change is large enough (such as when the Mail interface changed) we’ll post a notice to status.its.umich.edu. However, most changes aren’t quite that significant, so in those cases we’ll post to all the same locations except for status.its.umich.edu.

In addition, if we know about significant changes far enough in advance, we’ll publish articles in the NextGen Michigan Newsletter and other social media sources such as TwitterFacebook, Yammer, and Google+. We also review new and upcoming features during the bi-monthly U-M Collaboration Forum Live events.

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.

  • Mass emails to campus
  • Emails to Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on campus. SIGs are intended sharing information around a specific area of interest, not as a general announcements list. (We will post to SIGs when an update or issue is relevant to the group.)
  • Create new social media accounts. ITS maintains established Twitter and FaceBook accounts already and adding ones dedicated to M+Google would be redundant.

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Access

How do I log in to Google Apps?

IMPORTANT: Before proceeding with the following log in instructions, please read about Google Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and Conflicting Accounts.
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.) 
  1. Access through a top-level UMICH URL:URL screen shot
    1. Type one of the following directly into your browser address field and hit ENTER on your keyboard: 
    2. This takes you to the U-M Weblogin screen. Enter your uniqname and UMICH password, and click "log in."
    3. For your first log in only, you will be presented with the Google Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Click “I accept” if you wish to continue.
    4. This takes you into the Google service you selected initially. Use the black bar near the top of the page to to open additional Google apps.
  2. From google.umich.edu:header buttons
    1. Use the Go to buttons in the banner to open Mail, Calendar or Docs.
    2. You will then need to complete the the U-M Weblogin steps as described in example 1 above.
  3. You can access Google services directly.
    1. Add "/a/umich.edu" to the end of the Google service URL. For example: mail.google.com/a/umich.edu or docs.google.com/a/umich.edu. 
    2. You will then need to complete the U-M Weblog in steps as described in example 1 above.
  4. From google.com: 
    1. Click "Sign in" (If you're already logged in, click your username in the upper right and choose "Sign out" first.)
    2. Enter your uniqname@umich.edu address in the Email field. (Leave the Password field empty.)
    3. Click the blue "sign in" button.
    4. You will then need to complete the U-M Weblog in steps as described in example 1 above.
Also see the ITS documentation for more information about logging in and out of Google.

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. 

I have a new Google account and I am receiving a request to accept Google's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. What do I do?

Beyond the Google core suite of apps (Email, Calendar, Talk, Docs, Sites and Contacts), the University of Michigan has activated Additional Services such as Google+, Blogger, iGoogle and Moderator. These Additional Services fall outside of the University of Michigan Google Apps for Education agreement. Therefore, in order to use these Additional Services, you must agree to a separate terms of service and privacy policy. Please be aware that the University of Michigan did not negotiate these other terms of service or privacy policy, and you should review them carefully before accepting.

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:

TOS screen shot

If you do not want to accept the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy for these Additional Services, click Cancel and contact 4HELP@umich.edu or 734-764-HELP (4357) and you will be set-up with an account that does not have these Additional Services activated.

Am I able to access Google Apps offline?

Yes, Google provides offline access to Google email, calendar and Drive in modern Web browsers. Calendar and Docs are limited to read-only access. Note that you need to use the Google Chrome browser to use offline access.

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 may 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.

What services do new students, faculty and staff get?

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.

What happens when students graduate?

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 domainHowever, 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.

How is access to accounts of former students, staff and faculty handled?

Admins can transfer ownership of content, so materials from a former student, staff or faculty member could be retrieved if necessary.

If a foreign government blocks Google sites and IP ranges, how do I collaborate?

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.

I may have locked my account. How do I unlock my M+Google account?

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.

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Accessibility

Is Google Apps for Education Accessible? 

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.

What about the National Federation of the Blind's complaints against Google? 

In March 2011, The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) requested that the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, investigate New York University (NYU) and Northwestern University for civil rights violations against blind faculty and students. The NFB complaint asserts that Google Apps for Education, which each campus has adopted as campus technology, is not accessible for blind campus community members. Read the NFB press release.

On September 14, a post appeared on the Official Google Blog announcing improvements to Google Docs, Sites, and Calendar. The NFB responded positively the next day, and provided a more detailed review of Google's accessibility improvements a week later.

For its part, Google has committed to resolve many of the issues which prompted the NFB complaint by December 2011. The university reviewed and tested the accessibility of Google Apps for Education prior to its final pilot in February 2012 and only moved forward if Google adequately met its obligations.

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Compatibility

Which Web browsers are able to use with Google Apps?

Google Apps supports the following browsers:
  • Google Chrome (recommended)
  • Internet Explorer 8, 9 
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.6+ 
  • Apple Safari 4, 5 
Some features are only available on the newest version of a given browser. Google Chrome auto updates and is often times the first to support new Google Apps features. More about supported browsers

What email and calendar protocols are supported for clients?

  • Email: IMAP and POP3
  • Calendar: iCal, XML, and HTML

What languages does Google Apps support?

The interface for both Google email and calendar are available in over 50 languages. For a list of the available languages and instructions on how to set a different language, refer to the Google Email Help Center

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:
  • Un-check this "Block third-party cookies and site data", or 
  • Add the following exceptions in "Manage exceptions..." Add new hostname pattern [*.]googleusercontent.com set to Allow
  • Then restart Chrome
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Collaboration Tools

Can we adjust Google's search results within the U-M domain to bring some items up before others when certain 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 Docs, 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 this 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.

Is Microsoft Office replaced by Google Docs?

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.

What happens to my other shared network drives (e.g., H: drive or S: drive)?

Google Docs does not change any network drive. It is offered in addition to current file shares. However, collaborating via Google Docs is often easier and quicker than using shared network drives. You may find you don't need to use those drives as often.

Is Google Voice be provided?

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.

How much storage space do I get with Google Apps for Education?

Email: 25 GB

Drive:  Unlimited for native Docs files. 5 GB for files that have not been converted to Google Docs format. If you hit the maximum storage limit, you won't be able to upload any additional files but will still have access to all of the files you uploaded up to that point. Here's more information about what file types count toward the maximum storage limit:

  • Files not converted to Google Docs format can't be larger than 1 GB each.
  • Only files you haven't converted to Google Docs format will count toward the maximum storage limit.
  • If you delete a file and empty your trash, you'll get that storage space back.
  • Files or documents that have been shared with you won't count toward the maximum storage limit.
Sites: Site quotas are tracked at the domain level. There is no set limit to the number of pages per site, although there is a 25 MB maximum attachment size. 

Is it be possible to get more storage?

More space for email is not available. Individuals, however, may be able purchase additional storage for other services, such as Docs. Google is working on allowing for volume storage purchases, however this option is not yet available and there is no release schedule. (Note: the ability to purchase additional space will depend on activating additional services not covered in the original agreement between Google and U-M. These services are currently being evaluated and reviewed.)

How do MCommunity groups synch with Google?

 MCommunity groups can be either sync'd to Google as a Google Group or used to route mail to a shared account, but not both.

Security & Privacy

Please visit U-M's Safe Computing website for current information and details on Security & Privacy in the U-M Google environment.

How does my M+Google account interact with my personal Gmail account?

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