Also see Education Edition FAQ from Google

Q. What does it cost to use Google Apps?

    A:  There is no cost for staff or students to use this resource, and none of the resources contain advertising.

Q. How do I create my own site?

    A:  Go to SITES and "Create a new site".  From there it's as easy as filling in a form.

Q:  When someone shares a Doc with me, does that impact my storage limit?

   A:  No.  This is a fundamental shift in what you may be used to.  When I share something with another user, I'm not sharing a copy of the file - I'm just granting them access to that file.  So it doesn't matter if I share a 50 MB file with 1 or 1000 people, it only ever uses 50 MB of space on the account of whoever "owns" it.

Q. What Google Apps could I have access do?

A.  Google Apps (Google Applications) 
  1. GMail - Google's encrypted email program.  25 GB of storage (in your inbox!), no advertising, Google Spam filtering and Postini Message Security administered at both domain and user level. Users can import or export mail, contacts and settings to and from other applications easily. You do NOT have to use GMail to use the other features of Google Apps.  
  2. Calendar - encrypted scheduling application.  Event details on a user's Google's calendar are private by default, but free/busy information is shared with other domain members unless turned off under "Settings".
  3. Contacts - encrypted global address book includes all users in the domain (staff and students). Users can add personal contacts as well.
  4. Docs - encrypted  online productivity suite including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form editor.  Each user has 1GB of storage space online for any type of file, not including items converted to Google Docs.  Any files uploaded or created on Google Docs private by default, and are not shared unless expressly indicated by users. Users can export all files that they own in a variety of formats at any time using a simple export menu.
  5. Sites - encrypted  website/wiki building application.  During the site creation process users are prompted to either "Share with everyone in share.epsb.ca" (default), "Only share with those I choose" (recommended), and "Make public" (not recommended).  They can change these settings at any time.
  6. Groups - encrypted discussion-board application.  Users can create groups for sharing.  They can choose to keep these group private or list them on the domain's directory.
  7. Video - internal You-Tube-like application.  Our domain has 10 GB of space total, and only staff members who have been expressly added by domain administrators can add video.  The videos are not encrypted, but are viewable only when logged into one of the EPS portals.  Users cannot make these videos public.
  8. Other Apps:  Your Google Account also allows you to log into other Google Tools. These include:
    1. Blogger
    2. Picasa Web Albums
    3. Maps
    4. Aviary
    5. Moderator
    7. Reader

Q: Where are my files stored when I upload them Google Docs or Sites?

    A:  Your files are stored on Google's servers, which are located around the world.  

Edmonton Public Schools & your school do NOT maintain copies of these files.  While Google servers are very secure and reliable, if you wish to keep local copies of important files, you can easily do this by saving to a USB drive, or to the local drive of your personal computer.  To save a copy of all of your Share (Google) Docs, simply follow the "export" instructions.  Please read the Privacy Matters page for more information on data security and privacy, including the section on how the Patriot Act (US) impacts your data.

See the Apps status dashboard here: http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl=en_GB For the long answer, check out his document - It's only a few pages, and I've highlighted the important bits:

All of our data on Google (emails, docs, sites, videos, ....) is backed up and replicated on several servers located in various physical locations. It is far more secure on Google servers than on your own hard drive, memory stick, or CD. If Google "goes down", nothing will happen to your files. They will be available when Google servers are back "up". Google servers have not been down for more than a few minutes for the past 4 years. Email uptime with google is just over 99.98%, and they use the same servers to run all Apps. 

Comprehensive review of security and vulnerability protections for Google Apps

Q:  I have a lot of MS Office files.  Why should I start using Google Docs?

   A:  Google Docs are accessible from anywhere on any type of computer no matter where you are.  You do not need to have MS Office or any software besides a browser installed in order to use them.  They are full-featured productivity tools.  You can easily upload entire folders of MS Office documents to Google Docs and they will be automatically converted to online, Google Docs versions.  Let's say you have 40 PPT shows you use with  your students.  Upload them all, then simply share them with your students. Then they can see them anywhere, anytime - even on their iphone, ipod, or iTouch.

 Q:  What kinds of files can I upload to Share DOCS and how much space do I have?

    A:  You can upload almost any type of tile to your Google Docs - so you can use it to store all of your files online.  This includes videos, audio, Smart Notebook, photoshop files, etc.  When you upload any Microsoft Office files (doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, xlsx) as well as PDF files, text files, etc., they are converted to online documents. You can upload and share other types of files (up to 1 GB each) up to a maximum of 1 GB per user (you're right- if you did that you could only save one huge, honkin' file).  This 1 GB limit does not include any file which are converted to online documents, so you really want to convert your Office files to online (Google) versions.  The benefit of this is they are then viewable and editable on any device with a browser (think iPod, iPad, iPhone, netbook, etc.) and have no need for MS Office.

Q:  What kinds of files can I upload to SITES or DOCS?

    A:  You can upload most types of files, including Smart notebook files, Office files, music, videos, etc. to "Filing Cabinet" pages on a site.  However, since you can now upload any type of file to your Google Docs, uploading to Google Docs makes much more sense as you can control access to your docs on a very granular level.

Q.  What if Google Apps becomes  too expensive for the district (it's currently offered at no charge), or otherwise becomes unavailable?

    A:  Google could eventually charge schools, but this is a very low risk.  They make billions from search - and while Apps isn't making them money yet, it is close to breaking even and moreover serves their purpose of getting/keeping people using Google to search.  They currently have over 11 million students using Google Apps (for free) and in our discussions with Google representatives it is not in their plans to charge for these tools.  

If you're worried about your stuff, see

They are also working on linking personal (gmail) accounts to google apps accounts.
My guess is it will only get easier to move/backup/export your stuff and not more difficult.

Q.  I'm moving from one school in within the district to another (e.g. staff transfer, moving from elementary to middle school to high school changing schools, etc.) - what happens to my Google docs, sites, mail, calendars, etc.?

    A:  Nothing...keep on rockin'. Your Google Apps account stays with you as long as you're in the district.

Q.  I'm leaving the school district (e.g. staff leaving/retiring, student graduating, student moving to another district) - what happens to my Google docs, sites, mail, calendars, etc.?

    A:  Once you are no longer in our active directory (our list of all staff and students), your account is suspended, then eventually deleted.  Before you leave the district, be sure to take your stuff with you: