From UNC's student newspaper:

Google has created a new program specifically designed for college students. The education edition of Google Apps includes e-mail service in addition to applications like Google Calendar and Google Talk, an instant messaging service.
Unlike a campus e-mail service, Google Apps comes at no charge. Arizona State University, which switched to Google Apps two years ago, paid $400,000 a year to maintain their old system, Keltner said.

Well, why Google is interested in providing the service for the university makes perfect sense -- most will likely use Google's own web application to interface with email, and that means lots of ad revenue. And I suppose as long as you can use POP3 or IMAP to view your Google-hosted mail, I shouldn't complain.

Still, what are the chances that Google stands to net more than $400k a year from your students? That is, could the university not invest in making its own, ad supported online interface and come out ahead in the long run? I would prefer that capitalism kept its sorry grubby hands away from academia, even if the university made the cash -- as if a capitalistic state institution of higher learning were still an option.

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