According to new reports, Google is closing its Play for Education program to focus on Chromebooks in schools.
"As of March 14 or later, Google will no longer sell Google Play for Education licenses. We're committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks, which are the #1 selling device in US K-12 education, and have a strong and growing ecosystem of educational apps," said a Google spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch. This news was first reported by CRN last Friday, but confirmed this week. The spokesperson added, "We'll continue to support our Google Play for Education customers and the devices that they have purchased." Google Play for Education was launched in the US in 2013 and expanded to Canada and the UK last year.
While Google is closing Play for Education, the company will continue its project to push Chromebooks into the education market. Chromebooks have proven more successful than tablets in the classroom and, according to Google's own figures, these computers make up more than 51 percent of the K-12 device market. While Chromebooks have become a popular choice in the classroom, Minnesota Senator Al Franken recently expressed concern over data collection on these devices. Google maintains that while it does collect student data, this data is kept private and is not used for advertising purposes. "I'm also still interested in whether or not Google can provide parents and students with stronger privacy protections — for example, by allowing students to 'opt-in' to data collection," said Franken in a statement. "I plan to continue working with Google to clarify some of its policies, because it's important for the privacy of our students." Google said that it is willing to answer Franken's questions.
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