Many of the Google tools have increased their position as compared to the previous year with YouTube, Drive/Docs and Search in second, third and fourth place, respectively. Despite being mostly ignored by the general public Google+ has been able to strengthen its position, which is probably due to its hangout feature which offers videoconferencing for up to ten participants as well as live streaming on YouTube and the web. Having said that, I have to confess myself as strong believer in the superiority of Google+ over other social networks.
Google Translate also has made its entry into the list of most popular tools (ranked 57th). That shows that educators finally start to take the tool seriously after having mostly made fun of it. Google has also been improving its mobile app, which now offers an impressive list of specs, including speech input, text to speech, handwriting input and a conversation mode.
I expect Google tools to become even more popular in education by the end of 2013. Some Google technologies to watch out for:
- Nexus devices for mobile learning: aggressively priced cutting edge technology with the fastest android upgrades. Android has so far been rather marginal in 1:1 mobile learning - the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets might be real game-changers here.
- Chromebooks: at $249/latest models and serving most eLearning needs these devices might spell the comeback of the netbook
- Google offline office/docs client: with the acquisition of Quickoffice last summer Google might finally offer offline editing of Google documents both on mobile devices and PCs.
- Further integration of existing services such as search, translate, maps, voice recognition, image recognition, text to speech and hangouts in gmail, docs, maps, blogger, sites and android.