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The Cloud

Stories about Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other online services.

The Power of Google

Google's mission statement can be found, aptly enough, at It states quite simply, “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Another interesting fact is that Google was not founded until 1998. I graduated high school in 1997. I did not begin attending college until 2009, at 30 years of age. The internet technology that most helped me as a student is Google.

It is difficult to convey the profound impact Google had on the internet and a student's ability to use it effectively. Before Google, performing a search on the internet was more difficult than trying to use the hand-typed card catalogs in a library. In a library it was reasonably certain the books were relevant and written by reliable sources. With the dawn of the internet and its easy accessibility to students, it was quickly considered an unreliable source. Not just specific sites, but the internet as a whole was suspect. Finding relevant, useful information required hours upon hours of wading through block text on sites and following embedded links to sources just to find the right key words to use to narrow your search down to the topic you were researching.

By organizing information Google has made it universally more useful. Google Books and Scholar give every student with the internet access to databases of information that, prior to this invention, required that students belong to a university that spends thousands, even millions, of dollars every year for access. What is more, Google is actually easier to use than these formal databases.

When I begin researching a topic, I simply type it into the Google Search bar and read about it on sites like Wikipedia. This allows me to learn enough to do a more refined search to find news articles that enable me to conduct further searches. Finally Google Books and Scholar give a much more detailed, scientific base to my knowledge as well as sources to quote.

Before Google the internet was like a warehouse full of loose pages torn from books. There was a ton of information but searching through it required starting in one corner and scanning every page for pertinent information. Google became the library, organizing the information, searching out and creating links to relevant topics, stripping away the dross to leave bright nuggets of solid gold fact behind. Yet, Google is more than any library. It is every library, and it is accessible from the home, the office, even the phone in my pocket. Students are no longer limited to the information contained within the walls of a library, the world is now, quite literally, at our fingertips.

No free Google Apps anymore.

Question of the day.
"Where did the free Google Apps product go"

If you're like everyone else who loves Gmail, you would like to move your custom domain (.com .net .org) to Google and have the same interface as Gmail. Well up to December 7th, 2012 to do such a thing it was free, but not anymore.
Google Apps
On December 7th, 2012 Google has decided to no longer accept new sign-ups for the free version of Google Apps. People who
already have the free version will still be able to continue to use Google Apps for free.

The new paid version will give customers:

  1. 25 GB for a mail inbox: Email with Google-powered search, 25GB of storage, offline support, custom email addresses, and much more.
  2. 5 GB for Google Drive: Google Drive allows you to store your files in the cloud, share them, and have access to them from anywhere.
  3. Docs: Create, share and work on documents with your whole team in real-time.
  4. Sheets: Manage spreadsheet data faster with click-to-edit charts and discussion style comments.
  5. Slides: Create presentations together, embed videos, and never press save again.
  6. Calendar: Easily schedule meetings at times that work for everyone, get meeting reminders, and share calendars.
  7. Business controls
  8. 99.9% up-time guarantee
  9. Full Outlook sync capabilities
  10. MS Exchange data import capabilities

Also 24/7 Phone support from Google at 877-355-5787 customers will need their Customer PIN and Support PIN. These numbers can be found under support and email support under the manage menu in mail.

All of these for $5 a month or $50 a year for every user. Compared Microsoft Exchange or other email products this is still a great value.

Also Google has higher end options for data archiving, data retrieval for investigation, and company-wide data discovery and export. these services can be purchased for $10 per user per month. Customers can contact us or can call Google Sales at 866-954-1565 for more info.

Evolution Electronics helps many businesses use Google apps and we would love to help you... Give us a call if you would like help, too. 218-340-5633

Online Learning

In May of 1995 Bill Gates wrote in a memo, “. . . improvement in computer power will be outpaced by the exponential improvements in communications networks. The combination of these elements will have a fundamental impact on work, learning and play.” He was right. Colleges and universities are realizing the vast market potential of the online student.

As a 30 year old enrolling in college courses for the first time I was only interested in traditional learning. In high school I learned best by listening and taking notes. I thought I wouldn't have that option in online courses. They also meant self-motivating as there was no “period” I had to be in class. It wasn't long, however, before I was forced into an online class due to conflicts with my schedule. The very reasons I was interested in traditional courses became the very reasons I preferred online courses. They offer more flexibility in my schedule with a full 24-hours to work with rather than the brief time school was open. I didn't have to sit through entire lectures since I could watch the video. I could even work ahead allowing me to concentrate on other courses when I knew a test or project was coming up.

Furthermore, I found online courses offered more learning tools than a traditional course. I could pause, rewind, or fast-forward a lecture. Rather than crudely drawn sketches I saw animated diagrams. Discussions between students continued indefinitely through the class blog rather than restricted to the time allotted in class. When examining options for education I encourage everyone to consider online courses. To paraphrase what Gates said, as communication networks become more capable, online learning will become more prevalent. Be prepared. The future is here, and it is online learning.

~Brian Sanner
Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Candidate
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia



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