Our district is currently looking at going to a free email hosted solution with the capability for online storage and document creation.  We are looking at these two.  

I am finding that Microsoft has recently put a lot of resources into their platform and it looks pretty interesting.




Has anyone made this decision/comparison recently?  I would love to hear what you all have to say. 

Tags: apps, google, live@edu

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We are in the same process (hosted email being the main driver) and were leaning toward the Live@edu option primarily because of their Skydrive (25 gb of free storage). Google only offers 1 gb. I recently attended a conference, though, and learned at one of the sessions that Live@edu is going to change over to Office365. Part of this change will mean that Skydrive goes away and is replaced by SharePoint. I think storage is reduced to 10 gb, but I'm not sure I remember this correctly. Anyway, I have had such a bad expereince with SharePoint, it's that last thing I want to put up in front of students and the general staff as our collaboration platform. NOT intuitive at all, at least not for me. Also, Microsoft is introducting a pricing structure with the transition to 365.


Hopefully we can find some folks who are currently using one or the other. Thanks!

Thanks for the reply!  I have no experience with sharepoint myself so it is good to hear at least some feedback on that.  Interesting about the skydrive being replaced by sharepoint.  Is there any articles you can point me to from the presentation you attended? 


I worked at a college that made the switch to Google Apps, but the K-12 ballgame is way different.  At that time we weren't sure live@edu was going to last, but now it looks like it isn't going anywhere.  


I would say from experience with Google, the UI is very friendly and easy to use.  The main difficulty is compatibility with Office products.  When switching from Office to google and vice versa.  This was our reason for looking into live@edu/Office360.  I do know that google allows you to create as many google docs as you want and they don't count against your 1GB limit.  That is just for other files you store on google docs.  


The other big thing we are looking at is manageability.  We have a very small shop and it needs to be easy to maintain.  This was another reason we were thinking live@edu, but with the new price points that might change things a bit since google is free to everyone.  

Thanks for your insight. It really sounds like our districts are headed down similar paths. Another big driver for our tech dept. is its comaptibility with Office products. My arguement  there is that it's a good skill to be able to navigate different (and between/among) different interfaces, but I'm not sure that's enough to choose Google over Microsoft.


My main bias toward Google is that when I say the words "innovation, creatvity, flexibility, or cutting edge" Microsoft doesn't exactly jump into my head. I know it will work and integrate well with the Office products we already know and use, but I NEVER hear someone rave about the cool new thing they just discovered at the Microsoft website. I NEVER hear, "let's use a collaborative Word Live document." You get the point, I suppose.


Then, there's SharePoint. We've been using the server version of SharePoint for  a couple years now. Originally we thought it would be our one stop spot for things like wikis, blogs, collaboration, etc. But everytime I have to use it, I tear out my hair. I can make a Google site with embedded Google forms and video and pictures, etc in about 10 minutes. I swear it would take me about 5 hours to do the same thing on SharePoint. It's just not intuitive, despite what the author of the article you posted said (thanks, by the way). Things that you should be able to do in one or two or three clicks are several non-intuitive, involved steps. Ugh. Sorry about the rant.


Unfortunately, there were no materials/links provided in the presentation (which was poorly done, anyway). Your article gave more info than I got there.



Google Apps for Education's space limits are a little confusing.  A Google mailbox has a quote of 7.5 GB currently. The Google Docs limit is 1 GB but Google Docs formats (Docs, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and Drawing) don't count toward that quota limit as mentioned.  Similarly, certain images and videos in Picasa Web Albums don't count toward the limit.  For more info, see the free storage section on this page: http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=39567


To me it seems like Google's philosophy on space is to give you a lot if you are using their services but not to give you a big, free drop box to just park (or backup) files.

Google has a new service - Google Could Connect for Microsoft Office - that allows you to work on Office docs in the Google cloud.  Makes "playing nice with Office" easier for staff.



I've read an article on that as well.  It still creates issues if you want to edit online though.  Basically Cloud connect lets you sync your office documents to your google docs.  The minute you open the documents on google it converts them and has issues with formatting.
I've been using a competing product (www.offisync.com) and find it works much better

Yep, I was just going to say that. Also, you can do just about anything with online collaboration/ Google Docs and other 100% web products. Luckily, Google makes it free for less than 50 users per organization. My hubby is does Google App scripting to create forms which can easily log/ update/ collaborate records, etc. It's just one more thing that Google Apps can do. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Google's 100% web vision and their approach to providing the implementation of it. It makes life really easy for me. 


Products are mostly free in the education market.  In the business market Google tends to be more competitive than Microsoft on price, plus there is a lot of interest shown in using free software in a diverse computing environment.  The most outstanding drawback is that Microsoft still means Microsoft all the way.  So Office365 will also mean Windows 7, Active Directory and Office 2010.  That's a lot of Microsoft software to pay for.


I also agree with Kimberly Allison who says "My main bias toward Google is that when I say the words "innovation, creatvity, flexibility, or cutting edge" Microsoft doesn't exactly jump into my head."





Interesting discussions here - especially since we're just to get started with a 'pilot' using Google Apps in my school. I have been using many Google offerings pretty much from the beginning but have no Apps experience at all. Will be joining the Google Apps Webinar in a couple of hours if everything works the way I hope :)

My district is looking to do a total migration to Google Apps before the end of the school year in preperation for a 1 to 1 pilot in our sevnth grade next year.

I am part of a small group who have become certified and are working on training and implementation.  In general teachers who create new documents with Google love it, the collaboration oppurtunities are awesome.  The biggest pain we have had is moving documents from office products into google.  They are easy to upload but collaboration on those peices dosent work as well as it should and things like transitions on Power Points sometimes do not transfer.

I did a test with this using my Live account as well hoping that the formatting would stay intact because they were both microsoft products.  What I found was that the Office Web Apps still have formatting issues with advanced type formatting since they are stripped down versions of the Office programs.  So it seems like even switching to live@edu/Office365 will not solve the formatting woes.  

How many users can simultaneously edit a document in Live?



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