What's inside NOAA's cloud?
- By Greg Crowe
- Feb 24, 2012
An installation of Google Apps for Government can feature a variety of different programs.
An administrator can enable basic ones, such as Gmail. From there, hundreds of apps are available for purchase at the Google Apps Marketplace, and they do everything from managing e-mail lists to making accounting easier.
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Of course, a government organization such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had to pick a subset of apps that would be not only useful but also most secure. Here is a list of the apps NOAA is using.
E-mail is one of the most basic networking functions, so NOAA enabled Gmail in its implementation. This is still the main way users stay in contact with those who work at other agencies, in addition to people from outside government. Users now get e-mail sent to their @noaa.gov address through this application.
To some, this might seem like an unusual choice for a government organization. But many NOAA workers use this option for quick messaging. Anything that can be said in a sentence or two and doesn’t need to be kept for posterity is usually communicated via Chat. The application also can handle video and voice chatting for those who have the appropriate hardware devices.
This application facilitates unprecedented collaboration levels for NOAA users. Live collaborative editing is one of the ways that NOAA is using Google Apps to increase productivity. The application gives NOAA users access to word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation-making functions.
NOAA employees are using Calendar to keep on top of their schedules. They also use the application to check their co-workers' schedules before scheduling meetings to make sure everyone is free.
The IT staff has created several websites for internal use. The most notable one is a site that has dozens of staff-made training videos for Google Apps. NOAA has a few policy issues to iron out before general users can create their own sites.