Today I was at Google HQ in London for the launch of a framework agreement between janet, (part of JISC), and Google Apps for Education. The agreement will make it easier for Universities and Colleges to sign up for Google Apps by using a model contract which has been approved by janet as meeting UK legal requirements. There's also a detailed guidance note to help Universities which is part of the agreement. There's more information in the press release here.
I was there as we've been a Google client for several years - we went Google in 2007 for students and 2009 for staff, and now have over 56,000 live accounts 15,000 of which are used daily. We didn't have the benefit of this framework agreement, and did the due diligence and legal checking ourselves.
Today it was interesting to hear from Google and janet about how they see this partnership developing, and to take part in the customer panel with other customers. We were asked why we'd moved to Google - better service provision, innovation, accessible of all devices including mobile, affordable (free), releases resource to concentrate on more value added services. We also talked about some of the really innovative ways our staff and students are using the full range of apps to collaborate, for learning, for information dissemination and for research. The usual questions about security and privacy and gave the usual answer - know the risks and manage them. It's really not a big issue. Also had an interesting question about the whole ecosystem of cloud based services - it's not just about the apps, but the infrastructure (connectivity, wireless), policies and processes, and support.
Lots of press there, and I did give a couple of media interviews - will look forward to seeing any coverage the event gets. Oh, and Google's offices were pretty good - who wouldn't want somewhere like this to sit in and work?