Photo: Extra Ketchup
Google has snatched what is believed to be its biggest single client in the world – the NSW Department of Education – away from its rival Microsoft to claim up to 1.3 million new users of its free email product.
The acting Minister for Education, John Hatzistergos, said the new system would cater for 1.3 million users and be in place by the end of the year.
The $9.5 million, three-year contract with the Google partner SMS Management and Technology will be setting up email addresses for all the schools in New South Wales.
“This will be one of the biggest Gmail deployments in the world,” said its spokesman, Matthew Kaufman, who said Macquarie University had also recently signed up for Gmail.
The US-based information technology analyst Matthew Cain, from Gartner, said it was no secret why Microsoft and Google are “assiduously courting” the .edu community with free email services.
“If the vendors can get students to sign up for email accounts, the hope is they will then use those accounts for life,” Mr Cain said. “Students, alumni, staff and faculty all represent a highly desirable demographic that advertisers will pay top dollar to reach.”
Students will be able to log on from home. But whereas each had access to 35 megabytes of memory on their account previously, they now have six gigabytes.
“I think we are the largest single-enterprise user of Gmail,” Mr Wilson said.
“[The deal is] a first in Australian education and a lot of other states are very interested.”