Boston Gets Gmail

If you correspond via email with any of Boston’s city employees, you probably won’t even notice a difference. 

But starting soon, the city of Boston will be switching its email system from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps, a cloud-based email and communication system that the city says will save about 30 percent each year. 

“By bringing city government into the cloud, Boston continues to modernize our technology while saving taxpayer dollars and freeing up city workers to focus on the vital work of helping people,” said Mayor Menino. “Our technology experts will now be able to focus on moving the city forward, rather than maintaining servers.”

The city has about 75,000 email users, including individual announts for its 57,000 Boston Public Schools students. Previously, the city had been using several email servers, many needing technical upgrades. 

The city said the move will save upwards of 30 percent on communications and technical costs. It was spending $ 8.25 per user per month to host its email servers on Microsoft Exchange and Symantec Vault, the mayor’s office said. 

As the millions of personal Gmail users in Boston know, the city will now be able to access all of Google App’s perks: Gmail’s email system for all departments, use collaboration tools like Google Docs and Google Hangout, and store items in the cloud with Google Drive. 

“This decision represents an important step forward for the city,” said Chief Information Officer Bill Oates. “We want to equip all city employees with easy-to-use tools that allow them be more productive and innovative in their jobs, as well as a system that can scale to keep up with the city’s demands.”

Several other government agencies around the country, including Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and the states of Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming all use a similar system. 

South End Patch