UK universities will endure less legally challenging and expensive Google Apps rollouts following a landmark agreement between the search giant and Janet, an organisation which provides network infrastructure and services to educational institutions in the UK.
The agreement, signed today at Google's London offices, will mean that the IT managers and CIOs of all UK universities will all have access to one framework agreement when signing off Google Apps rollouts, instead of having to create their own bespoke contracts.
Liz Sproat, head of education for Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said universities "can now move forward with confidence that an independent body has reviewed the agreement with Google, to make sure that your interests are being covered."
She added that this initial signing of the agreement was just the beginning of wider co-operation between Google and UK universities and colleges, one third of which already have a Google Apps deployment.
In order to gain access to the documents, universities would pay a fee of £500, significantly less than the cost of legal fees, when carrying out due diligence to ensure all legal obstacles are negotiated prior to a rollout.
Christine Sexton, the CIO of Sheffield University, which has had an Apps deployment for several years, told V3 that universities would see a benefit in terms of both time and money.
"It will make it a lot easier for universities to move to Google's cloud services. Those of us who went to Google a few years ago did it ourselves and we went backwards and forwards to Google with changes. We did all the due diligence and looked at things such as data protection law and safe harbour," she said.
"It would have shortened the process by nine months and made it a lot easier. Many universities have to employ lawyers to look at it, but now the contract and all the model clauses are there for you to look at and use."
Today's agreement follows one of a similar nature signed in the Netherlands where, according to Janet, more than half of universities and colleges now use Google Apps.
The announcement is another boost for Google this week after it announced appliance giant Whirlpool is rolling out its Apps products to 68,000 staff across 66 locations.
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