Frequently Asked Questions

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Google Apps at the University of Minnesota

 Why did the University move to Google Apps?

Partnering with Google gives the University students, faculty, and staff access to a suite of state-of-the art communication and collaboration tools that will enhance their ability to work together. In addition to increased productivity opportunities, Google Apps also allows the University to save costs in the long run by reducing the need to buy and support software, hardware, and storage to maintain our own independent email service.

The move to Google allows the University to use Google's application and data storage servers, a move that provides numerous benefits for the University and its users. Using U of M Google Apps dramatically increases service quality and enables us to simplify the support model for these core services. The University will saves equipment (application and data storage servers), license fees, annual software maintenance costs, and support costs.


What if I already have a personal Google/Gmail account?

Your University of Minnesota Google Apps account is totally separate from your personal Google/Gmail account, so nothing about your personal Google account will change. Your private account and institutional accounts will not be merged. Remember that you will need to use the University's central authentication process to access your University account. 

Protected Health Information

Can I store Protected Health Information (PHI) in Google?


PHI should not be stored in Google Drive/Docs. The newly implemented Box Secure Storage solution is intended for storing sensitive data (including PHI). Box Secure Storage allows secure, cloud-based storage and facilitates easy collaboration with groups or individuals. However, even when PHI is stored in Box Secure Storage, great care should be taken to ensure access is not granted to unauthorized users.

Learn more about Box Secure Storate and how to get started


In general, PHI should not be included in emails. It is easy to send an email to the wrong address, and for the email to be forwarded on without authorization or knowledge of the original sender.  If you need to send PHI via email, HCC members should use the newly implemented Proofpoint Secure Email Center.  Proofpoint is HIPAA compliant and allows HCC members to send encrypted emails to users outside the HCC.

Learn more about Proofpoint and how to start using it

In limited situations, it may be acceptable to send PHI via Gmail. For more information, read the guidelines for Email and Protected Health Information.   


Can I merge my personal Google Calendar with my University Google Calendar?

No. Your University of Minnesota Google Apps account is totally separate from your personal Google account, and your private account and institutional accounts will not be merged.

Can I share my calendar with people outside of the University?

Yes. More details on the Google Support page

How can I add the University Holidays to my calendar?
  1. Click Settings.
  2. Click Browse Interesting Calendars>>.
  3. Click More.
  4. Click Resources for
  5. Find the calendar and select either Preview to view the calendar, or Subscribe to add the calendar to your list of "other" calendars.


How can I import my Contacts from Outlook into Google?

To import contacts to Gmail:

  1. Create a custom CSV file, or export the address book from your other webmail provider or email client as a CSV file.
  2. Sign in to Gmail.
  3. Click Contacts (located above the Compose Mail button) on any Gmail page.
  4. From the More actions dropdown menu, select Import....
  5. Click the Choose File button.
  6. Select the file you'd like to upload and click the Import button.

When it's done, Gmail will display the number of contacts imported.

If you receive any error messages during the import, you might need to edit your CSV file.

Note: These CSV files work with Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Eudora, and some other email providers. But the CSV files that these applications produce might not contain all of the supported contact fields. For example, when Outlook exports to a CSV file, it omits data including attachments, distribution lists, contact pictures, the "file as" field, the "nickname" field, and text formatting in the "notes" field. Google Contacts doesn’t have a way to know what was omitted, so we suggest that you manually copy over any important information in these fields after you import your contacts.

About the notes field:

  • Google Contacts doesn't support rich text formatting, or unlimited length in the “notes” field. When we're unable to import a certain field from the CSV, we do our best to let you know so that you can fix it manually.
  • The maximum size for a contact is 128 KB. If a contact exceeds this size, the "notes" field might be truncated.

Also refer to the Google Support page.