Google promotes education software through App stores

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 30 December 2010, 06:05 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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Bangalore: To come out with an industry for online learning programmes with a value so ambitious that it may approach $5 billion the next year is the current discussion between Google and Educational Software companies.

Google Apps Marketplace has already made available games and instructional tools for teachers from companies such as Grockit and Aviary. Being the largest search engine, Google seeks to attract more educational developers which has resulted in Google stepping up in generating revenue from the project.
As stated by the Parthenon Group, the software sales for US schools and colleges this year should surpass the 2009 total of $4.6 billion. Google expects this to be the new growth machine, which gets most of its sales from search advertising.

The company makes available word processing, e-mail and spreadsheet programs to students and teachers free of cost while working with them. Now it wants to enlarge its domain by helping the outside developers sell applications to educators.

"If we can provide access to education apps to our 10 million users in thousands of schools, then that would be a win all around," said Obadiah Greenberg, Google's business development manager for education.

The sales generated through the site make available the revenue to the software makers with products on Google Apps Marketplace. In the coming months, Mountain View, California-based Google plans to begin taking a 20 percent share of sales, Greenberg said.

According to James Birchfield, instructional technology specialist at Harwich Public Schools in Massachusetts, many schools have set up private web domains with Google wherein the programs in the Apps Marketplace can be operated. "A teacher logs into a Google Apps account and they can access anything in the marketplace," said Birchfield, who is known by colleagues as the Google guru." "It gives you a one-stop-shop kind of thing where we know we can integrate it and we know where it's all saved."

Aviary Education, which is a free Web-based tool that lets students edit images and audio recordings in a private environment, is made use of by the teachers who want students to record class presentations and share them online, said Michael Galpert, co-founder of New York-based Aviary. "The more that they promote Google services in the classroom, the larger the audience we get," Galpert said. The company now gets most of its new customers through Google's Marketplace, he said.

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