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DKS Editors

It’s an error message we’ve all faced or will face sometime during our academic career at Kent State. You send an e-mail, maybe with an attachment or two, to a classmate or a professor, and then you get an impossibly fast response:

“Your message cannot be delivered to the following recipients…”

You double check the recipient’s e-mail address to make sure you spelled it right or didn’t mess up the random number added before the “@kent.edu.”

Then you keep reading: “Reason: Over quota.”

Well, what did you expect when the university only allots each student with 15 MB of storage space for his or her account?

Lucky for us, there’s Google to save the day.

University officials are reportedly close to inking a deal that will make these annoying error messages a thing of the past. Kent State and Google are ironing out the details of an arrangement that would both give each student a seemingly inexhaustible mailbox and alleviate a lot of strain on the Division of Information Services. Although the university has yet to make an official announcement, a July 30 post on Google’s official company blog lists Kent State among a dozen other schools joining its productivity revolution this fall.

From what we know so far, students will still access their e-mail through the FlashLine interface, and no one’s e-mail address will change. In addition to the mailbox, students would have integrated access to Google’s built-in chat client, calendar, spam filtering and search capabilities. For the university, this means a reduction of “Kent State’s internal administration of e-mail by 80 and 90 percent,” according to a statement issued last week.

Kent State isn’t the first university to hop on the Gmail bandwagon. San Jose City College in California was the first higher-education institution to offer its students e-mail hosted by Google in Feb. 2006. Google is driving a retro-fitted school bus (that runs on bio-fuel) across the country in its “App to School” campaign to show some appreciation to a few of the thousands of schools whose students are now using the Web giant’s tools every day. (Sadly, no Kent State visit is scheduled.)

And true to its global nature, Google isn’t just revolutionizing the way American colleges and universities communicate. The implementation of Google Apps is an international phenomenon, as schools in Europe and Africa are also sending and receiving official e-mail via Google servers. It’s an interesting way to market the company’s presence by integrating itself into such a necessary component of students’ daily lives. These mergers with institutions of higher education give Google what it called a “relationship for life” in a June 2007 BBC story.

Clever subliminal promotion aside, we couldn’t be more excited about this transition. This switch will cut costs and headaches, allowing resources and students’ tuition dollars to be reallocated toward other programs.

It’s Kent State’s turn to jump onboard, and all we have to say to the administration is, “Hurry up!” We’re all eagerly awaiting the day when we stop dreading our archaic e-mail interface and can instead anticipate the endless “your message has been sent” alerts that we see on the near horizon.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.