L&IT adds Google+ to Gmail accounts

By Siobhan Murray


Google+ is now available to campus as a service of Bmail accounts. The service, brought about by Library and Information Technology, is part of the Google Apps for Education software, which includes Google Docs. The addition was completed with the hope that the program will “be useful” to the campus community. The addition may serve as an alternate means of communication between University students beyond Bmail, myBucknell, Message Center, Facebook and Twitter.
Google+ is a social media tool used for communication where users can create a profile, video chat with one another and share content, among other things. Faculty, staff and students can now easily utilize the program through their current Bmail accounts to connect with one another in addition to anyone else with Google+.
“The service will establish a community online and be applicable to everyone on campus. We think Google+ is going to get huge, so we’re glad that we’re jumping on the bandwagon now,” said Kamran Khan ’13, a Library and Information Technology Desk employee. “Last semester, Google+ had come out but we were hesitant about introducing it to the campus. But this semester, with the various updates that Google made, it will be more customized for Bucknell, and hopefully more useful.”
Library and Information Technology, directed by Chris Weber, approved the change after Google made several improvements to the service. Although Google+ has been available under the Bmail umbrella for many months, Library and Information Technology made the decision to introduce the service to the campus when Google removed its 18-year minimum age requirement to a more reasonable 13 years. This age requirement had been an issue for the University, as well as for other universities.
Google+ introduced the social networking world to its original “hangouts” feature, a live video chat service that can be accessed from the website or from a mobile device. This feature alone lead several faculty members to push for the addition of Google+ to the University’s online network.
“All of this led to my decision to enable the service following discussions with an informed and knowledgeable L & IT staff,” Weber said.
The decision wasn’t a difficult one for the team.
“Unless there is a clear reason why we shouldn’t activate a service, L & IT will typically enable it,” Weber said.
An important factor of their decision-making process, the Library and Information Technology staff knows that Google services tend to be popular with University users. As most services are also appropriate in the educational setting, the decision regarding an addition of new software is rarely challenging.
Those behind this decision don’t have a specific vision for how Google+ will be used by the campus community. They assert that there are no attendant expectations surrounding the new service and they only hope that the change will be useful.
“Any attempt to stipulate only specific uses for a service will undoubtedly be shown to have underestimated the imaginations and creativity of Bucknell’s students, faculty and staff,” Weber said.
Students are more optimistic about the addition of the program to the University’s network.
“Google+ will continue with you throughout [your] life, even after graduation, if you want it to,” Charles Cole ’14 said. 
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