Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps

Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps

Summary: Every Boston city employee from police officers to public school teachers now have a Google Apps account.


Boston has inked a deal with Google making it the latest major municipality to sign onto the Internet giant's business cloud platform.

The capital of Massachusetts has already migrated approximately 76,000 city employees to Google Apps.

That covers every municipal entity ranging from the Boston Police Department to all teachers in the school district -- along with more than 50,000 public school students as well.

Highlighting that it was already named the most digital city nationwide last year by the Center for Digital Government, Boston's chief information officer Bill Oates noted further on the Google Enterprise Blog on Monday that these different departments, such as the school district, were previously operating on "very separate" environments.

Oates's comments suggested that such an upgrade was in the works -- or at least needed -- for some time now, reflecting a common revelation at many government agencies worldwide these days.

Here's more about the city of Boston's decision process, according to Oates:

As the city evaluated an upgrade to communication and collaboration infrastructure, we clearly saw cloud services as the most cost effective, supportable platform to address our future needs. In 2013, following an extensive review of the market, the city initiated a rigorous RFP process that attracted an wide array of bids, including multiple Microsoft and Google cloud offerings. A selection committee composed of members from our City IT organization, Boston Police, and Boston Public Schools evaluated 10 proposals based on both cost and technical capabilities. The committee unanimously chose Google Apps based on its ability to meet the needs of a fast moving city while providing a secure cloud environment.

Along with setting up each public employee with a Google Apps account on top of a account, Oates asserted that Google Apps will serve as "the center" for all cloud-based collaboration and communications going forward.

Topics: Cloud, Enterprise Software, Google, Government US, Google Apps

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Suggest you Google the capital of MA

    OK Google, What's the capital of Massachusetts? Not Boston!
    • Boston is the capital of Massachusetts...

      ... - just in case you don't believe a native.
      • ....The committee unanimously chose ....

        I can't believe that the selection process was not biased. Google must have offered a cashback incentive to the city of Boston for such a claim. Google wants to create a wave in the US in the public sector. Google docs sucks big time when compared to Office 365. Something is truly not clean about this statement.
        • no

          1) Microsoft has not reliable products (offline all the time)
          2) Microsoft has closed, limited products
          3) Microsoft has slow cloud products
          Jiří Pavelec
    • Epic

      "OK Google, What's the capital of Massachusetts? Not Boston!"

      What an epic failure.
      • lol

        I can't stop laughing omg thank you so much jnffarrell for that
  • Bids?????????

    Google apps and Office 365 are free for schools!!!!!!!!
  • Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps

    Only a matter of time before the employees start asking questions about how they had a workflow to the new Google system that throws their workflow into the gutter.
    • good call, Boston

      I have been wrestling with office for years, and much prefer using google apps. I only do typical everyday stuff and 99% of office functionality/bloat just gets in my way and slows me down.
      • Lame excuse

        If all you are typing is a one page document or creating a simple list in a spreadsheet, Microsoft Office handles it just as well as Google Apps. Whats so hard about clicking Start > All Programs > Microsoft Word, type your document and click Save on the Quick Access Toolbar?

        With Google apps, you have to launch a web browser, sign into Google apps, launch the online Word processor pray that pop ads don't show up and Google is not harvesting your data.
        • Lame........

          .....With Google apps, you have to launch a web browser, sign into Google apps, launch the online Word processor pray that pop ads don't show up and Google is not harvesting your data.

          Or make a bookmark to your document and go. Browse much?

          And I'm sure Microsoft doesn't harvest any data if you choose Office 365.
          • Tired of the "harvesting data" excuse

            I'd like to see proof that MS is not harvesting data. If you are going with a Microsoft product instead of a Google product because you are worried about Google "using your info to sell ads" as seen in the MS anti-chromebook commercials, you are a sucker.

            The best way to avoid all companies from harvesting information about you is to take your computer and throw it out the window. Everything you do on your electronic device is monitored in some way for the purpose of selling you something.
  • How long before

    the employees are going WTF!!! and "Why can't I do this"
  • Those poor users

    Scroogled by dumbass management. My daughter and step son are forced by their schools to submit work using Google Docs which they passionately hate because it is so awful. What they do to get around the problems is to do the work first in Word, then copy it in to Google Docs. Then they have to laboriously fix all the formatting errors Google Docs introduces. Still, they find that easier than doing it all in Google Docs. They arrived at this workflow independently and without any prompting by me. I once tried to help one of them with formatting in Google Docs, but ended up giving up in disgust. I wonder how many Boston city employees will follow a similar workflow to the ones my kids came up with?
    Sir Name
    • Too bad they are not more flexible

      Having used extensively both Docs and Word, I really can't understand a "passionate" hate for the former since they are actually very similar. If your kids can't adapt to using Docs which is really quite simple if you've already used any word processor, then they have a problem with technology and seem to not be very flexible and adaptive, qualities that would serve them well in their future careers.
      • re:

        Seems to me like they were pretty smart and adaptive to figure out a workflow that allowed them to bypass most of the weaknesses of Google Docs, get their work done efficiently using Word, and address the remaining translation errors of Google Docs in order to hand their assignments in one time. I think that's called problem solving - which is definitely something that will serve them well in their future careers.
        Sir Name
    • Maybe they are doing it the wrong way

      Old habits are not easy to abandon.
      MS office is way more powerful than Google apps, but for editing text, do basic page formatting, ... there is nothing wrong with Google apps. For collaborative work they are a real powerful solution.
      I believe many feature are used because they are just there, documents overly worked are not even pretty, maybe that's the reason why Apple presentation are like 10000 times better than Microsoft ones :-)
      • re:

        "but for editing text, do basic page formatting, ... there is nothing wrong with Google apps"

        Except for how buggy it is at doing basic formatting.

        Ultimately, it doesn't matter. Google's metrics will determine the point at which the ad revenue generated by data mining personal information from the documents users create with Google Docs no longer justifies continued development and then they will abandon it like they've done so many other "products" people have come to count on.
        Sir Name
        • Word

          So you are saying that only Microsoft can make a Word program which works? Hard, if not impossible to believe this. I use Google Spreadsheets all the time. Took spreads made back in 1997 and transferred them to Google Docs, and Microsoft online docs, and they work just fine on both.
      • A link