Coming to a school near you: Google launches Android app store for education

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Google already reaches millions of students through its Apps for Education classroom tools but, at its annual developer conference Wednesday, the tech giant said it’s making an even bigger push with Android.

Starting this fall, it plans to offer teachers across the country an education-focused Android app store, called Google Play for Education, which has been in pilot testing with various schools.

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“There’s a big part of all of our lives – and the lives of our kids – that mobile technology hasn’t touched. When I visit my kids’ classroom, it looks pretty much like it did when I went to school,” said Chris Yerga, an engineering director at Google. “Google Play for Education was built from the ground up to meet the unique content needs of educators.”

Through the new store, teachers will be able to search for educator-recommended apps appropriate for their grades and subjects. And, as long as each student has their own Google account, teachers can deploy their app selections to the tablets for an entire class or grade from their own account.

Apple is also pushing aggressively in education — last year, it sold 4.5 million iPads to schools and reported one billion downloads for iTunes U. But Google is clearly getting ready to take on its Silicon Valley rival in the education market in a bigger way. Google’s existing school presence through its Apps for Education, which has more than 20 million users, could help the company in its latest effort, as could the seemingly teacher-friendly management features built into Google Play.

Ahead of the launch this fall, Google said it would start accepting app submissions from developers this summer.

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