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Google Apps Education Edition offers email, calendar, and collaboration tools directly from a computer browser. The online resources include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Video, Google Docs, Google Sites, Start Page, and 24/7 support.
The Gmail (email) component provides 6.5GB per account with IMAP (internet message access protocol), POP (post office protocol), mobile access, and spam and virus protection. The Google Calendar feature offers multiple calendars, room and resource scheduling options, and mobile access. Google Talk provides instant messaging, free calling, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), voicemail, and file transfer capabilities.
The new Google Video tool allows secure video sharing of recorded classes, lectures, school events, and more. The feature includes 3GB of video storage per video user; anyone can add comments, tags, and ratings. Access to this tool is free through March 8, 2009. After that date, the price is $10 per user per year.
Google Docs provides word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and mobile access applications. Students and teachers can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online without working with attachments.
The Google Sites component enables team website creation using videos, images, and gadgets. Students or teachers can create websites designed to provide a single location to share documents, videos, calendars, charts, and other information.
The Start Page option customizes a homepage with access to school information and gadgets including weather, Gmail, games, and more. Students and teachers can choose to use their homepages to preview inboxes and calendars, to access school content, and to search the web.
The API (advanced programming interface) for integration features include a single sign-on provision, user provisioning and management, email navigation, support of the email gateway, and email routing controls for dual delivery. Advanced configuration options are available.
Google Apps Education Edition is free for educational institutions and includes no advertising aimed at students, faculty, and staff. Additional security and compliance software is available at a 66% educational discount. The add-ons include Message Security at a cost of $4 per user and Message Discovery priced at $8.50 per user.
The Message Security feature offers inbound/outbound email filtering, predefined and customizable filters, and policy-based encryption. The Message Discovery option includes message security, hosted email archiving, web-based administration, and archive search, export, and reporting functions.
The Google Apps Education Edition homepage is www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/index.html.