Friday, 27 January 2012

A Very Google Week

It's been a big week for Google Services at the University.


First we formally announced the launch of Google+ at the University. From February 1st Google+ will be enabled for all staff and students over the age of 18* We will not be activating the service, just enabling it. It is an opt-in service; if you wish to use it you can set up your University account but if you take no action Google+ will not intrude upon your life.

Always keeping abreast of modern IT services and culture we activated Google+ as soon as we had verified that it didn't compromise other services, but before we had learned about its features and prepared support materials. In the current IT climate we are aiming to speed up the release of new services with the expectation that our users do not need the same level of help and support as in previous years. I hope we've got the balance right!

* As regards the over 18s constraint, no sooner had we announced the activation of Google+ than they changed their conditions and made Google+ available to anyone over the age of 13. This now removes the uncomfortable situation of us offering services to some students but not others.

Google Web Pages

In a previous blog post we outlined how the web team had enabled new features on the CMS web site. For the launch of Google+ and the continued support for Google Apps we've incorporated some new features into our Google web pages. There's plenty of room for improvement but we've made a nice start.

The new Google+ pages can be seen here and the shiny new web pages showcasing our collection of Google services can be seen here.

Google Drop-Ins

People tend not to need training courses like they used to, but there's still a need to see good practise and find out what can be achieved using IT services to the max. To help staff get the most from our Google services we are piloting a series of drop in sessions taking place every Monday throughout February 2:00-3:30 in Hicks K17. If you have any questions just pop along, no need to book.

Google Privacy Policy

There's been much publicised changes to Google's privacy policies. Essentially, Google now allow your data to be shared between your apps. No-one else can see your data but for example your preferences in email can now be applied to your Google Docs. CiCS has reviewed the new privacy policy in detail and does not believe there is any cause for concern. However, it is likely that your Google searches will start to return results that are more targeted to you as an individual. Is that a good or a bad thing?