Idaho National Laboratory to move to Google Apps

Around 5,000 workers will start using Gmail and other Google services

As many as 5,000 workers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory will be the latest government workers to start using Google Apps.

On Tuesday, Unisys plans to announce that it has won a contract to move the employees to Google Apps for Government, a suite of services that includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites.

In a press release about the deal, Unisys wrote that the move is expected to provide employees with secure access to email and data at reduced costs. Unisys could earn US$10 million over 10 years for transitioning the workers to the new system and maintaining the environment. Unisys has also subcontracted with Tempus Nova and CRI Advantage for help.

The award is the latest win for Google in the government sector, despite its struggles with a huge implementation in Los Angeles. The implementation there has taken longer than expected and Google now appears unable to meet security requirements of some departments like the Los Angeles Police. In the meantime, Google is paying for many workers to use their existing email program from Novell.

The interest by government agencies in cloud-based email services offers an opportunity for Google to deliver services in a sector where Microsoft has dominated. Microsoft, however, has won its share of hosted email contracts with government agencies. Agencies in California, New York and Minnesota as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among the government organizations that have announced plans to use Microsoft's hosted services.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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