Going Google

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In 2012, Virginia Tech's Computing Center officially announced that the university would be eventually migrating all users to Google Apps for all @vt.edu mail, after planning the change for some time. In July 2012, the service became officially released and all users could switch at their convenience. According to an internal email circulated to 4Help employees, the tentative date for forced migration is November 12, 2012; this was later given as the official deadline.


  • Users that forward their mail to another account must manually set up forwarding through Google's interface, which retains forwarded messages for at least 30 days in the trash folder. This can cause privacy and security concerns.
  • Due to ITAR regulations, many students and faculty doing government research are unable to use Google mail services, as they are not ITAR-compliant.
  • Gmail uses a non-standard IMAP interface, in which "tags" are used instead of a standard directory structure. This means that when users attempt to delete a message in IMAP, it will actually only remove the tag and will be difficult to find. Actually deleting messages requires moving them to the trash folder, where they will be deleted after 30 days,
  • Some users are unhappy that they must use a separate mail password from their PID password.
  • Users are limited to 25 GB of storage for their mail and documents, but this is still an improvement over the existing system where mail expired after 30 days.
  • Some users have previously reported that a third-party Gmail extension is enabled by default which scans the text of users' email messages. This is contradictory to the VT Mail policy of not having VT email mined for data by third parties.
  • Users with existing Google accounts using a VT email address are forced to move or merge their existing accounts due to a namespace conflict.
  • One network liasion has reported several users encountering issues when transferring locally-stored mail in large batches. Apparently, depending on the mail client and number of messages, Gmail may time out and permanently lose all messages that were not successfully transferred.
  • Virginia Tech's mail relays do not support STARTTLS, so all incoming mail is unencrypted in transit. [1]


  1. "Email". Hokie Privacy. https://www.hokieprivacy.org/mail/. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 

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