Along the way, the Google suite has evolved as has its relationship with higher education institutions like UH. One of those evolutions came in 2021, when Google announced it would be imposing storage limits on users for the first time, including higher education institutions. Colleges and universities now have 100 terabytes of pooled storage among their users, a number that doesn’t match demand at a place like UH. Still, after conversations with Google and internally, Yoshimi says the decision to stay with Google is a sensible one.
“We do understand that if we had to do this internally, it’s a heavy lift,” he says. “We don’t want to go back there. We were there before, a bunch of us doing our email and storage. If the number is reasonable, then it totally makes sense for us to stay with Google and not have to flip this stuff back to on-prem.”
So, what is Google Workspace for Education, what makes it a value, and what applications, storage and security features does it offer? Here’s a closer look.
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What’s Included with Google Workspace for Education in Higher Ed?
Every tier of Google Workspace for Education, including the free Fundamentals tier, is made up of 15 Google applications including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Classroom, Jamboard, Drive, Meet and more. Additional security and analytics features are introduced at the Education Standard tier. The Teaching and Learning tier includes additional functionality like polls and breakout rooms on the Meet video platform. The premium Education Plus tier adds on more security features and learning tools.
At UH, administrators have decided to use a combination of offerings. All university users have access to the Fundamentals tier and full suite of applications. Faculty and staff, meanwhile, are signed up at the Education Plus level.
The tools all interact seamlessly and match much, if not all, of what students have been using before they reach a higher education institution, as Google platforms are the norm in K–12 schools.
Google’s tools are also, for the most part, able to integrate with other platforms, like Microsoft, which Yoshimi says is still widely used at UH.
“We’re not 100 percent Google tools by any stretch of the imagination; we do a bunch of other stuff,” he says. “One of the good things is, over time, they’ve made improvements to the product. I won’t say it’s 100 percent feature-compatible now, but it’s pretty close.”
What to Know About Google Workspace for Education’s Storage Limits
Google’s storage limit (100TB) may seem like a lot, Yoshimi says, but when he and others dug into the storage needs at the UH, it was far from sufficient. Yoshimi estimates the university is currently storing a little under 2 petabytes (2,000TB) of data.