Google Apps FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

 Why Switch?

Why would we switch to Google Apps for Education?

There are two main reasons to switch.

  1. To have everyone on the same communications platform – faculty, staff and students.
    In order to have a connected learning community we need to have everyone — faculty, staff and students — on the same communication platform.  Collaboration and learning is happening across boundaries of roles at the University.  With everyone using the same platform the technology will be facilitator of rather than a barrier to collaboration and learning.
  2. We work with files everywhere, anywhere, anytime with other people.
    The nature of how we work with files has changed.  We often need to work with others on files or need to access files wherever we are.  Moving to a platform like Google Apps brings those tools to everyone at Augsburg.

Is this a financial decision?  

The motivation has been the two reasons above.  The recent budget shortfall has allowed IT to re-organize some of its project timelines which has opened up the opportunity to work on this project.

Will we save money? 

Any savings will be small and will not be realized until the year after a switch.  The software licensing costs for student webmail and for GroupWise are relatively small.

 Is it free?

It is free to sign up for Google Apps for Education.  We will need to license a 3rd party software tool to move calendars from GroupWise to Google and license a “connector” to be able to use the same login information.

If Google Apps for Education is free to educational institutions how does Google make money?

Google has three objectives with Google Apps for Education. First, Google has its roots in education (Stanford University) and wishes to contribute to the educational world by offering its products with no out-of-pocket institutional expense.

Second, Google hopes to make lifetime Google users out of all faculty, staff and particularly students. Their hope is that graduates will continue to use Gmail and its associated products for the rest of their lives and perhaps even bring these products into their future business world.

Third, Google’s revenue flow is generated by delivering context-sensitive advertisements to the users of its products (e.g. Gmail and Google). When students graduate and if they choose to continue using Gmail, context-sensitive ads would be delivered to them through the interface.

What process was followed to come to this recommendation?

The IT Advisory Group is a representative group charged with providing input and feedback to Augsburg IT leadership on strategy and policies, consulting on current and relevant dilemmas for planning, building and supporting the IT framework for teaching/learning, administrative and communications at Augsburg University.  This group is made up of

  • Aaron Griess (Athletics)
  • Brianna Noland (Student)
  • Jane Ann Nelson (Library)
  • Jeremy Meyers (Religion)
  • Jesse Cashman (DPS)
  • Kevin Cheatham (TRiO/SSS)
  • Kevin Healy (Advancement)
  • Nate Hallanger (Academic Affairs)
  • Rebecca John (Marketing)
  • Velma Lashbrook (MAL/CTL)
  • and IT staff including Leif Anderson , Scott Krajewski, Matt Schornstein, John Stadler

Since April 2012 this group has been exploring the issues around changing email / calendar / file collaboration systems. After reviewing the two leading products, Microsoft 365 and Google Apps for Education, the group has recommended a move to Google Apps for Education.  The next steps were community feedback on the product, pilots in some departments, and a final recommendation from the group in mid-April.

Will Google Apps work with my smart phone or iPad?

Yes.  You can setup Google email and calendar on smart phones and iPads.  You can install the Google Drive app to access your Google Drive too.

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Can I do X in Google?

This table lists some of the essential functions of GroupWise compared to Gmail but it is not exhaustive.

Email Feature GroupWise Gmail
Email Organization Folders Labels; Nested labels are like subfolders
Email Folder/Label Sharing Yes No
Email Notifications (i.e. “Popup Notifications”) Yes, GW Notify Yes, Gmail Notifier
Email Categorization Yes Yes, by using multiple labels
Create Distribution Groups Yes Yes, through the use of Contacts or Google Groups
Mark email as “high priority”/”low priority” Yes No
Mark email as confidential Yes No
Email Filters (i.e. Rules) Yes Yes
Threaded email conversation view (in web client) No Yes (optional)
Sent Item Tracking Status (i.e. Read, Deleted, etc.) Yes: Delivered, Read, Forwarded, Deleted No
Auto completion of the “To: field” Yes Yes
Message Retraction Yes Yes, within first 10 seconds after sending (Undo Send)
Mailbox Quota Size 2GB 25GB
Maximum Message Size – including attachment(s) 10MB 25MB
Maximum number of recipients per message Unlimited 500 (if recipients are in a public group then it only counts as 1 recipient
Maximum sending limit to internal recipients per account per day Unlimited Unlimited
Maximum sending limit to external recipients per account per day Unlimited 3000
Mailbox Quota Message Yes No
Calendar Feature GroupWise Gmail
Shared Calendar Yes (only primary calendar can be shared) Yes
Busy Search Yes Yes
Autofind open meeting time Yes Yes
Mark Appointments as different types Yes (Free, Busy, Tentative, Out of Office) all show up as different colors Yes (Available, Busy) show up as the same color
Retract meeting Yes Yes
Set working hours Yes Yes
Recurring appointments Yes Yes
Recurring appointments: pick dates from a calendar Yes (Auto-Date) No

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E-mail and Calendar

Is my e-mail address going to change when we move?

No, you will continue to receive and send your mail from the same address.

Will my current email, calendar, and other items be transferred to Google Apps?

We will transfer your email and calendar items from GroupWise (for faculty and staff) and Email (for students).

Will this affect my personal Google/Gmail account?

Your Augsburg Google Apps account is totally separate from your personal Google/Gmail account, so nothing about your personal Google account will change. Your private account and institutional accounts will not be merged.

Will I get to keep my Augsburg email forever now?

No.  Your Augsburg email account is tied to your AugNet account and when you leave the university your AugNet account is shut off.  Students will still be able to move to an Alumni email account like they can now.  That Alumni account is also gmail but it is separate from the main Augsburg system.

Can I use my iPhone/iPad/Android device with Google Apps for Education?

Yes you can. Read about how to on Android and iOS devices.

Can I use Thunderbird/Outlook/Mac Mail with Google Apps for Education?

Yes you can.  We recommend you use the Google web interface as those other clients do not have the calendar integration nor other Google tools.  Instructions on setting up those clients will be provided but IT will be focusing its support on the Google web interface and not on other email clients.

What are the limitations on e-mail sizes for my Google account?

You can send and receive mail messages up to 25 MB in size including attachments.  GroupWise has a limitation of 10 MB attachments. Google Docs also offers a way to share large documents between collaborators without worrying about e-mail storage space.

What is my new e-mail quota for my Google account?

Currently, the e-mail quota for each account is 25 gigabytes.  The GroupWise e-mail quota is 2 GB.

Can I increase my quota?

Google does not have the option for Educational domains to purchase additional space for individual accounts. It should be noted that your e-mail quota is separate from your Google Drive quota. Google provides unlimited quota for documents created within the Docs service. Only stored files (.PDF, .DOCX, .JPG, etc.) count towards your storage limit. Google Docs formats don’t use up your storage space.

What does archiving in Gmail do? Where does it go and can I get it back?

Archiving items keeps your Inbox tidy. The items are not deleted, but they will no longer appear in your Inbox. The items will appear in search results and can also be accessed by clicking the “All Mail” link.

What happens when I trash a message?

When you delete a message (i.e. move it to the trash), either inadvertently or on purpose, Google mail expunges the message after 30 days. After that 30 days, it is not possible to retrieve that message.

I am a power scheduler (I manage other people’s calendars) and am concerned about being able to manage and schedule with Google calendar.

Since many many Colleges and Universities have already switched we can take advantage of the body of knowledge and the larger community of practice.  Google has two main sites – and – that collect that knowledge.  Google provides a Calendar guide for assistants too.  We will offer a Microsoft Outlook option for power schedulers.

Will students have a calendar too?

Yes, students will have a calendar just like faculty and staff will.

Can students schedule appointments with me?

Yes, students can request an appointment much as they might do now with an email.

Will appointment requests show up on my calendar?

This is an option you can change.  The default is that they will show up as unaccepted.  You can also change a setting so that they do not show up in your calendar until you accept them.

Will my address book and frequent contacts move over?

During the pilot phase we will be exploring how a migration will work.  We expect your address book can be moved over and likely frequent contacts too.

What happens to all my email folders?

Email folders will be turned into labels.

I don’t like how my groups all messages in a “conversation.”

That actually is an option you can turn off.  Once it is off all your messages will appear separately in your inbox.

I’ve used gmail and you can’t sort by name.

Actually you can.  Move your mouse over someone’s name and you’ll see a pop-up box for that person.  Click on “Emails” at the bottom of that box and you’ll see all the emails from them.

I have a bunch of email stored on a GroupWise archive on my computer.  What happens to that?

We will handle those on a case by case basis and will move those after the July move.  But yes, they can be moved into Gmail.

What happens if I use up the 25GB quota in my email? Can I get more?

If you reach the quota you will not be able to send or receive email and people will get a bounce back that tells them you are over quota.  There is currently not an option for institutions to buy more space for individuals.  At that point you will want to delete any large attachments to free up space or move them into your Google Drive.

How will spam filtering work?

We would use Google’s built-in spam filtering which looks like a label (folder).  Spam messages are deleted automatically after 30 days.


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 Chat and Video

I use GroupWise messenger often.  Is there a chat tool with Google Apps for Education?

Yes.  Google chat allows you to instant message with people.  You can install additional tools to do an audio or video chat as well.

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 Security and Privacy

Who owns content on Google docs or in e-mails on the Google servers?

Google does not own your data. Google does not take a position on whether the data belongs to the institution signing up for Google Apps or the individual user. That’s an institutional decision, but the data doesn’t belong to Google:

  • Google won’t share your data with others except as noted in their Privacy Policy.
  • Google keeps your data as long as you require them to keep it.
  • Google believes that you should be able to take your data with you if you choose to use external services in conjunction with Google Apps or stop using Google services altogether.
Visit this page on security and privacy for clear answers to specific questions.

Is our data secure?

All communication is encrypted whenever using web-based e-mail, web-based chat, web-based calendar, docs, and sites.  Also, if you sync your e-mail or calendar with mobile devices that material may not be encrypted either (details on how best to secure your mobile devices will be provided).

All e-mail is filtered for spam, viruses, and to prevent phishing attacks. More details are provided on Google’s Security and Privacy page.

Google Apps offers a strong and extensive security infrastructure to support these and other benefits:

  • Their data centers are protected by advanced physical security controls, and access to information is monitored at multiple levels.
  • They perform software patching rapidly across identical server stacks to help keep users updated with the latest patches.
  • You can set fine-grained access controls for documents, calendars, and other types of information you store in the cloud.
  • They have entire teams of security professionals dedicated to protecting customer data.
  • An independent third party auditor issued Google Apps an unqualified SAS70 Type II certification (industry standard security audit).

Although Augsburg’s e-mail would be outsourced to Google, Augsburg’s current IT policies such as Acceptable Use Policy and Network and Security Monitoring Policy still apply, which under some conditions the University has the right to examine electronic information stored on or passing over IT resources.

Who administers Augsburg Google accounts?

Augsburg Google accounts will be set up and administered by Augsburg IT staff. The University also will provide user support through the Tech Desk and Liaisons for Computing.

Will I see advertising?

No. Contractually, Google is not allowed to exhibit advertising to active Augsburg faculty, staff, and students. No Augsburg accounts will see advertising.

Is my privacy and the confidentiality of our e-mail protected?

Google may be compelled to disclose Augsburg’s confidential Information when required by law but only after it, if legally permissible: (a) uses commercially reasonable efforts to notify the owner; and (b) gives the owner the chance to challenge the disclosure.

Would moving to Google violate any FERPA rules?

Moving employee e-mail to Google will not change any policy, rule or regulation that deals with FERPA. All existing policies will be adhered to.  Google Drive has other institutional restrictions on use noted below.

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Getting Access

How will faculty and staff access their Augsburg Google Mail account?

University users will use their AugNet username and password to sign in through Inside Augsburg. You will not be able to access your Augsburg account via the Google personal edition interface at or

Will Google ever be “down”?

Google maintains a number of geographically distributed data centers, the locations of which are kept discreet for security purposes. Google’s computing clusters are designed with resiliency and redundancy in mind, eliminating any single point of failure and minimizing the impact of common equipment failures and environmental risks. Plus, a Google Apps for Education subscription has a  99.9% uptime guarantee SLA.  This equates to about 45 minutes of downtime for a standard 31-day month.

Will I be able to access my Google Mail and other apps from countries that censor Internet traffic?

It is Google’s goal to make sure that all Google services are accessible everywhere. However, there are times when there may be service interruptions in certain countries that are beyond the control of Google and the University. This challenge exists regardless of the service provider. Of course, these interruptions don’t just affect Google services, but other sites (Yahoo, Amazon, etc.), as well. Google continues to work to provide direct access to Google services in these countries.

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What do you mean by accessibility?

In this context we mean “can these tools be used by someone with a visual or other disability?”  This is often in the context of using a program called a screen reader that reads the text on the screen to you so that if you cannot see the screen you can still use the tool.  The term “Section 508 compliance” is often used to refer to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which was amended in 1998 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.  You can read more at and Google’s accessibility page.

 Is Google Apps for Education accessible?

The answer is a complex one as Google Apps is made up very different tools.  The simple answer is some parts are and some parts are not.  But there are options to use Google Apps for Education in an accessible manner.

Google provides detailed information for each tool at  Please refer to that page for full details.  An in-depth analysis of the email and calendar tools has been done by Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) which provides much useful information for each tool. But, in summary, there are the options for each of the main tools though many more are listed at

Gmail – you can switch to a basic HTML view with a screen reader or use a different email program.

Calendar – you can use a screen reader with the web view or use a different calendar program.

Docs – you can use a screen reader with docs.

What does that mean for our use of Google Apps for Education?

Because not all features are fully accessible we are recommending that the use of Google Apps is not required for any assignment or coursework.

Why do we care about accessibility?

Augsburg is a diverse campus and everyone has different abilities. Tools that are accessible to people with disabilities are better products for everyone. Also, someone who is not disabled currently could become disabled due to an accident, injury or age.  The classic accessibility example is curb cuts.  Everyone takes those for granted when pushing a stroller or pulling heavy luggage but for people in a wheelchair they are essential and are a result of the accessibility legislation.

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 Files and Google Drive

What is the difference between Google Docs and Google Drive?

Google Docs are the individual files — word processor, spreadsheet or presentation — and Google Drive is the space where you can store files in Google Apps for Education.  You can access your Google Drive on the web or on your computer if you install the Google Drive application or on your iPhone/iPad or Android device if you install the app.

How much space do I get in Google Drive?

Currently, you can store 5 GB of non-Google Docs files in your Drive.  Any Google Docs file does not count towards the 5 GB limit.

There are currently no options available to increase the size of any user’s Google Drive quota.

Does this mean we won’t use Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint any more?

No.  Google Docs don’t have all the features of the Microsoft products and many University applications require the Microsoft products.  There is no requirement to use Google Docs or Drive at all.


Does this mean our personal AugNet folders or departmental folders will go away?

No.  The AugNet folders give us additional tools unerase files or recover files from backup that do not exist in Google Apps for Education.  We have come to rely on these “rescue” tools in many situations.  We are recommending that people use Google Docs and Google Drive for files where collaboration or sharing is necessary. We also recommend that you keep backup copies of essential files in your AugNet folder.  Think of Google Docs / Drive as a third option for files that is useful in certain situations.  The table below give some examples of when to use what.

Where What Examples
Departmental folder on ORGS Institutional data/information used by multiple people in the department Reports, shared communication templates
Personal AugNet folder Institutional data/information used by you, private files Grades, presentations, daily work
Google Docs / Drive Documents you will share with others and collaborate on Presentations, communications, group projects

Should I not put some information in Google Docs and Google Drive?

Because Google Docs and Google Drive resides in Google servers IT is recommending that people use them only for information that is not personal or private (that includes FERPA protected information and private institutional data).  It very easy to share your Google Docs with others and it is equally as easy to share them with the wrong person.  While we trust the security of Google’s servers the ease of sharing makes the institution more vulnerable to accidental sharing of inappropriate information.

Why would I use Google Docs?

If you are working on a group project or collaboratively drafting a communication or have a need to work together on the same document but don’t want to send a file back and forth and lose track of which copy is the newest copy.  Please keep in mind the above recommendation to keep personal or private information out of Google Docs.

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