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Melbourne uni students pick Gmail

The University of Melbourne has picked Gmail for its new student email platform, after polls of students indicated a "strong" preference for the Google offering over the alternative Live@edu platform.
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Written by Renai LeMay on

The University of Melbourne has picked Gmail for its new student email platform, after polls of students indicated a "strong" preference for the Google offering over the alternative Live@edu platform.

"You asked for it — you got it! Results from a series of focus groups with student representatives indicated a strong preference for Google to replace the existing student email system," the university stated on a new website set up recently to inform students of the change, in response to a question on why it had picked Google Apps for the roll-out.

Melbourne University Provost John Dewar publicised the move in an email to the institution's 44,000-strong student body this week, stating that the university had been working on a replacement for its legacy email system for some time.

The news comes as Live@edu and Gmail have been engaged in a running dogfight for the hearts and minds of Australia's educational institutions.

Microsoft now counts multiple organisations on its win list for Live@edu, which includes the University of Technology, Sydney, Edith Cowan University, WA Central TAFE, Curtin University, the Australian Catholic University, the University of Western Sydney, Flinders University, TAFE SA, the University of NSW and the University of Queensland.

In comparison, Gmail has won fewer victories against the Microsoft juggernaut, picking up the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University and Monash University. Google does, however, hold the largest education email account in Australia: NSW's Department of Education and Training, which has 1.5 million students.

Dewar told students that Melbourne University's email migration project was close to completion, with students to receive invitations to the new Google platform from December 2010 on a staggered basis, with the whole migration expected to take eight weeks.

"The ultimate aim is to provide a user-friendly and cost-effective email system, which will offer enhanced functionality for all students," he said. Once the email accounts of all students have been transitioned across to the new platform, the university's legacy systems will be "decommissioned".

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