Gmail celebrated its 10th birthday on April 1st. Reflecting back, they altered higher education more than we know according to Inside Higher Ed.
Transitioning from enterprise platforms to consumer platforms, Gmail is helping the technological world retreat from centralized technology control with a slick, free platform that any higher ed institution can use. UW Bothell has already gone aboard to using Gmail and other Google apps.
This transition is especially great for students who prefer to utilize their own technology at school. Remember only 10 years ago when schools rolled out carts of uniform laptops loaded with the same software? Now students have the option to stop relying on Outlook or Microsoft Office and use the wonders of Gmail, Google Drive, and other online applications. Because of these programs, schools no longer need to worry as much about mandatory software and their updates.
Of course not having mandatory software does have its downsides. The online world has many versions and tools that instructors have to toy with and troubleshoot. Schools continue to balance the upsides and downsides.
Needless to say, Gmail’s leadership in cloud storage causes higher ed institutions to consider shifting their gears, especially with the attractive 15GB of storage Gmail provides compared to the scarce space campuses provides.
In addition to the technological advances Gmail introduced to higher ed, they’ve introduced a change in attitude towards the web. Ten years ago people panicked at the idea of email scanning for advertisement selection, now it barely phases us. In fact, data collection can help us when it comes to simple Google searches.
Gmail, in essence, revolutionized email and the web to come. They are the leaders in a purely online, consumer platform. So much that they played part in convincing Microsoft to look at cloud services. This competition and the encouragement of competition will develop the future higher ed technologies.