Google lures more colleges to Gmail with bigger inboxes

Google announced 25 new education customers this month.

It’s already higher education’s most popular eMail hosting service, and Google’s Gmail could attract more university IT departments after the company more than tripled its Gmail inbox size for educational customers.

Gmail inboxes will jump from 7 gigabytes to 25 gigabytes “over the course of the next few weeks” for schools, colleges, and universities that use the suite of online educational tools known as Google Apps for Education, according to a June 24 company announcement.

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New customers, however, will see the larger eMail inboxes right away. Google released the names of 17 colleges and universities that recently signed on with the company to manage its eMail services from off-campus servers.

Bolstering eMail storage capabilities will let professors and their students work with Google Apps for Education without untimely interruptions when inboxes reach their limit, a Google spokesman said.

“We know students and teachers are really busy,” Eric Edens, a member of Google’s App Edu Team, wrote in a blog post.  “There’s no reason they should spend their time sifting through spam and deleting eMail to stay under quota. We hope bigger inboxes might offer the first step to helping today’s students think bigger.”

Among higher education’s newest Gmail customers are the University of Northern Iowa, University of Richmond, College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, Corning Community College in New York, Boston University, the University of Maryland in Baltimore, and the University of Salzburg.

Eight school districts also signed on with Google last week.

Harold Knapp, associate director of IT at Holy Cross, a 2,700-student campus, said the school would have converted from its on-campus eMail service to Gmail even if Google hadn’t boosted its inbox size, but the announcement is a bonus for professors and students who regularly store enormous files in their Gmail accounts.

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