Thursday, February 7, 2013

Google Apps, Chromebook and World Domination

Not too well known is that all the nice Google services which we avail of for personal use like GMail, Drive, Google Calendar and Talk are offered in packages customized to meet the needs of schools, non-profit organizations and businesses. Google has Google Apps for Education, Google Apps for Non-Profits, and Google Apps for Business. Awareness of these services has been growing with the adoption by several high profile institutions.

In the latter part of 2012, Google Apps for education made a lot of headway in the Philippine education sector. The Department of Education of the Republic of the Philippines adopted Google Apps for Education to connect its 45,000 schools and 600,000 staff. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines has also adopted Google Apps for Education for its 1,345 member schools. State universities like the University of the Philippines and the Pangasinan State University and prominent private institutions like the Ateneo de Manila University has also adopted Google Apps for use by its faculty, staff and students.

While Microsoft offers discounts to educational institutions and students, discounts do not beat free software. Google Apps for education is free for schools, colleges and universities with up to 30,000 users. Linux offers free software, but Google Apps also reduces the cost of maintaining a information technology infrastructure. Google Apps for Business cost just US$50 per user, per year. When you look at that price compared to maintaining a more traditional set-up, this is a cost efficient way to go. This is particularly tempting for small and medium sized businesses who really cant afford to maintain a robust IT infrastructure.

Making the adoption of Google Apps a fairly easy proposition is that it will run on whatever hardware you have available. You can run it on your Windows PC's, Mac's, Androids and iOS devices. You can access Google Apps through any modern web browser, with additional benefits through running it on the Chrome browser.

HP is the latest manufacturer to enter the Chromebook business

Once institutions and business start to utilize Google Apps, inevitably, its IT Department can identify the segment of its users, who really don't need anything more than what Google Apps and Chrome apps. Google Documents, Presentations or Spreadsheets while not as feature packed as Microsoft Office, but the Google cloud based office will meet the needs of most users, while combining powerful tools like online collaboration. Powerful photo editing apps are also available.

Once it comes time to replace or upgrade hardware, users who are identified as needing only Google Apps can be issued low cost Chromebooks and Android tablets instead of more expensive hardware.  In this sense Google offers free or low cost software and services, with low cost hardware available, resulting in reduced IT overhead.

By making inroads in the education, in a matter of a year or two, you will have students joining the workforce who are trained in how to work with Google Apps. This would make Google Apps adoption in the workplace more feasible.

In a nutshell, Chrome, both the operating system and the web browser, are Google keys for world domination.

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