Google Worries FAQ
1. Will Google snoop on my email?
Google takes great care to protect the privacy of its users. It has comprehensive policies to protect the privacy of users’ information. See http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html for example. There are additional protections in the Brookes’ contractual agreement for Google@Brookes.
It is well known that the consumer versions of Google Mail (Gmail) automatically detect key words in emails to allow appropriate adverts to the be presented to users. The adverts pay for the service, which is otherwise free of charge. This does not happen in the Google@Brookes service, which is not supported by adverts.
2. Where is my data kept and is it safe and legal?
Google has data centres all around the world and ensures the safety of users’ data by always keeping several copies in different locations. Therefore there is no realistic possibility that data could be lost by the failure of a particular computer or even an entire data centre. In the case of Google@Brookes, Google agrees to keep all email data within the European Union and all other types of data within the European Union or in the USA. This ensures compliance with UK and European data protection law. The data held in the USA is subject to a “Safe Harbour” agreement, which is the means by which the United States complies with European Data Protection law.
3. Can I get my data back from Google if Brookes stops using Google Apps?
Google is committed to allowing users to keep control of their information and transfer it out of Google products it they wish. Google has a dedicated group of engineers who work solely to make sure user can always take their data away. See http://www.dataliberation.org/
4. What is the environmental impact of using Google@Brookes?
There is no denying that the Internet uses large amounts of energy and resources to produce and operate the computers and network equipment which make it work. But it also saves energy and resources by allowing people to communicate, shop, play and work without the need to use cars, planes, paper and shops (buildings!). Google has huge economies of scale, which means that it can provide services like email more efficiently than Brookes could if we bought and operated our own equipment to provide the same services. Added to this, Google has the funds and capability to develop advanced environmentally efficient ways of providing its services. See http://www.google.com/corporate/green/ for more information.
5. Who else is Going Google?
Brookes is in good company in adopting Google Apps. A significant proportion of Universities world-wide are doing the same as well are large numbers of businesses. See http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/university.html
6. I sometimes see links to various terms of service and other policies when using Google@Brookes - do they all apply to me?
Google provides services identical to Google@Brookes to millions of users under all sorts of contractual arrangements. It is impractical to customise each service to reflect individual contractual agreements. The terms and policies you see are generally the terms applying to the standard consumer services, which are used free of charge by millions of private individuals worldwide. The only terms that you need to be concerned with as a Google@Brookes user are these: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/cs/google/terms.html