Ars technica reported Sunday on several colleges adopting all or part of the Google Applications suite. For those of us who use Gmail, this is hardly surprising. It's a rare person who doesn't quickly become a Gmail convert once they start managing their email through the interface.
Students, in fact, appear to be driving the adoption on college campuses:
"We found that 25% of the students were already forwarding their e-mails to Gmail, which was more reliable, offered more storage, and had better accessibility than what existed," according to one college IT director.
Almost universally, the schools (and students) were less interested in Google Docs and Spreadsheets, which does not appear to be in any position to replace Microsoft Office. According to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,
"There's no word on whether we'll use the word processing applications as well." The real benefit of Google's offering, as [their IT staff] sees it, is in the "larger in boxes, more redundancy, and ease of access off-campus."
Given that this service is free to schools, more and more students may start seeing the Gmail interface when they access their college email accounts.