Google I/O, stats and education

As Google I/O 2013 was going on this week, Google stocks hit an all time high of over $900 (and simultaneously the G-Learning blog has reached 50.000+ pageviews). And while this year's Google I/O might have been a disappointment for gadget lovers (no new Nexus smartphones or tablets were presented as had been expected) there are some quite positive implications for education:

900 million activated android devices,  Google+ and YouTube in second and third place (after Facebook) in social media, Chromebook nr. 1 selling laptop on for more than 20 consecutive weeks, integration and unification of Google services and some education specials have made this week an exciting one for all fans of Google in education.

Android has not only overtaken iOS in the smartphone market but also in the tablet market. That means BYOD settings now would most probably constitute a majority of Android devices. Moreover, Google has done a lot to contain Android's fragmentation problem. If a school should start a new tablet class next school year, they would most probably start with Jelly Bean devices. What's more, with Google Play for Education it will be easier for educators to find educational apps (curated and recommended by other educators) and push apps and eBooks to their students's devices.

One of the many announcements I am particularly excited about is that Google Play Books now allows you to upload your own PDF and epub files to the cloud which then will be synced between different devices. So far neither Apple nor Amazon provide a similar service. Play books, which is integrated with Google Search and Google Translate is already now one of the best e-readers available. Further integration with Google Keep or Google Drive for taking notes would make it a perfect tool for students.

Google is doing some serious catching up with Apple in the education sector. With iBooks (Author), Airplay, iTunesU Apple has some great tools for education, which are restricted to iPads only, however. Google has a cross-platform approach which is intrinsically appealing to anyone with cheaper devices in mind and ultimately the only way forward for BYOD settings.

Apart from Android Google's web services also will have an even greater impact on education than they have had so far. Currently Google is revolutionizing "search" for the second time in history. With the development of Google Now, image and voice recognition and location based search (Maps, Field Trip) Google is leading the way to Web 3.0. While many other companies are actively trying to circumnavigate the web and succeed being mobile only, Google is pushing forward web standards like the open WebM video format and web-based video chat (Hangouts).

Google+, which so far has had little impact in education, might also become a serious competitor for social media like Facebook and Twitter, or in combination with Google Drive in some instances even for LMSs. YouTube, which currently process 100 hours of uploaded videos per minute is bound to become increasingly important both for traditional and flipped classrooms.

Considering Google's current focus on software integration it is not hard to envisage a near future in which these services work seamlessly together across different devices and platforms providing both tools for personal learning networks as well as as learning management systems and even MOOCs.

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