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Summary:

Whether it’s future baseball stars or computer jocks, the conventional wisdom is to catch them while they’re young. And while that’s an effective strategy for recruiting talent, it’s also a great way to secure customers. Apple, Dell and countless other companies offer special products to college […]

google apps Whether it’s future baseball stars or computer jocks, the conventional wisdom is to catch them while they’re young. And while that’s an effective strategy for recruiting talent, it’s also a great way to secure customers. Apple, Dell and countless other companies offer special products to college students in the hope that they will become lifelong customers. Google is taking a similar approach, but skewing even younger, with features in its Apps suite of products that target K-12 students and their teachers.

The business logic is simple: If kids grow up using Google’s web-based services, there’s a good chance they won’t consider using Microsoft Office. They won’t even need to think about what type of computer to use, since all Apps services can be accessed anywhere there’s an Internet connection. And as more people use the Internet — Google’s Internet, that is — the more money the Mountain View, Calif.-based company rakes in.

“Education is seeing the power (of the cloud) very early and very clearly,” said Jeff Keltner, Google’s business development manager for apps in the education sector. The enterprise community, on the other hand, has been hesitant to use Google Apps due to, at least in part, security concerns.

With an eye to amassing a large population of future users, Google’s new features are aimed at making it easier and more attractive for elementary, middle and high schools to adopt Apps. (The company offers Apps to K-12 schools for free, just as it does for universities.) Among the new offerings Google rolled out this month are free access to Google Message Security, which lets IT administrators create filters to block spam and viruses in email messages, and sites where teachers can share lesson plans with one another. All Google Apps products are presented to academic subscribers devoid of advertisements so as to comply with school IT requirements.

Google introduced its Apps Education Edition for the academic sector in 2006 and it’s since gained ground at universities. The population of college students using the service today has grown to over 4 million worldwide and Google is signing up 70-75 new college campuses a quarter.

Though Google isn’t making money off its Apps subscriptions at K-12 schools, it’s still an indirect investment towards the company’s long-term business. Such a strategy puts added pressure on Microsoft, which has been embroiled in a battle for college students with Google via its Live@edu service.

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  1. Well…, may be this is wise decision for Google but children and teens should have Freedom of choice, which application and company to use. Microsoft in old times, made perfect applications. Right know like everything in crisis can be better…..

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  2. There is not only Google doing that kind of stuff to attract young people with their solution.

    Zimbra is doing also very well on the education side, they’ve got few millions of users in schools, mostly in the US and the UK but they’re invading Europe right now

    Their prices are very attractive, less than 2$ per year per student

    It was just to let you know that Google and Microsoft are not the only one on that kind of market and they’re doing a really good job :)

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    1. Ya but Google Apps is FREE and better than Zimbra. Who wants to pay for an inferior service?

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  3. majortom1981 Friday, July 31, 2009

    The problem with google apps for education is that certain libraries and schools cant use it. We had to pay for our google apps use because we are a non 503c library. (we are still non profit though).

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  4. Great, this means half of the graduates we look to hire won’t be able to even put a decent spreadsheet together in Excel. Schools should look at the real world to see what they’re using to prepare their students, not bet their students’ careers on an ideal.

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    1. Jesse Kopelman Friday, July 31, 2009

      You really think skills don’t transfer across similar software? When I was in school, Lotus 123 was still #1 and that’s what we learned on, but I never worked at an office that used it since then. How do you know Google Apps, or someone completely unknown at this point, won’t have surpassed MS Office in 5-10 years?

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    2. Does it? Spreadsheet skills aren’t really specific to MS Excel. I learned on Lotus in HS and all those skills transfered easily.

      I really loathe the idea of teaching someone how to use SOFTWARE. We should be teaching them the skills important in spreadsheet data population and organization, not where to point-and-click in an interface. Otherwise you’re doing a disservice to both the student and the taxpayers who fund those schools.

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