Google aims to push tablets as part of new education initiative

Google aims to push tablets as part of new education initiative

Summary: Google Play for Education lets teachers deploy an app or an e-book to all of their students' tablets at once.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Chrome briefly grabbed the spotlight during the opening keynote at I/O 2013 on Wednesday morning.

See also: Google I/O by the numbers: 900 million Android activations | Google developer tool releases include new Maps, Games, Google+ APIs | I/O 2013: Google's location APIs likely to fuel Google Glass apps

New product and feature announcements were sparse, but executives did reiterate the Internet giant's commitment to education.

Chris Yerga, director of engineering for the Android team, retook the stage to introduce Google Play for Education, touted as an "easy and affordable" strategy to put Android tablets in all schools.

Yerga stressed that many people have argued that Google should make it possible that each student benefit from a tablet, adding that the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation agrees.

The new store launches this fall. It enables teachers deploy an app or an e-book to all of their students' tablets at once.

As for the general Chrome update, at I/O 2012 in June, Google reported 450 million+ monthly active users on Google Chrome.

Since then, the number has grown to 750 million active users presently.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of the Android, Chrome and Apps teams, briefly touched on the recent release of the Chromebook Pixel laptop, glossing over the specs and adding that there will be more news on the high-end laptop later this year.

Following up a demo of how the upcoming second installation of The Hobbit franchise has been developed on the Chrome-based machine, Linus Upson, vice president of Chrome engineering, introduced new changes focused on speed, simplicity and security.

One of the major improvements in the last year has centered around JavaScript, which Upson touted is now 24 percent better on the desktop version and 57 percent better on mobile (including a 2.4 times speed boost in last four weeks alone).

Upson introduced WebP, essentially an upgrade from JPEG files with  31 percent reduction in file size. He added that the benefits are "compelling" saving on bandwidth and power.

As for video, YouTube will be adding support for VP9 later this year, an upgrade from H.264 files being that it offers a 63 percent reduction in file size at 3.0 Mbits per second versus 8.2Mbits.

Building on existing HTML5 auto-complete tools, Chrome now has a simpler form consisting of three steps: checkout, review (billing and shipping info), and submit.

The Chrome team also introduced a new UI framework, which includes the ability for developers to build their own HTML tags in a single compartment that can be shared across mobile and desktop platforms along with a toolkit that can take advantage of native components.

The unnamed framework isn't available to all developers yet, but it will be on display during I/O this week.

Developers, members of the media, and Google fanboys will also get a closer look at the Chromebook Pixel this week as attendees will all be given their own units during the show.

More to come...

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops, Tablets, Education, Google Apps

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  • A very powerful solution;

    Android tablets or Chromebooks and the Khan Academy.

    That (or similar) is the future of K-12 education. The HW is very inexpensive and the educational material is free and of the highest quality. The teacher tools are probably unmatched.

    Talk to a teacher using it.

    And no, I am not associated with the Khan Academy in any way, just a "fan boy".

    Imagine that.
    • Bahahaha, What a Joke

      Plastic toys are no good for any serious education.
      • Bahahaha, What an Idiot

        Boeing's Dreamliner is made of "plastic" too.

        I guess everybody at Boeing must be idiots as well?

        And many MS products are made of "plastic".

        You are too stupid for words.
        • Of course they're made of plastic.

          Most of Microsoft's products are INPUT DEVICES.

          Joysticks, keyboards, and mice, they're by far the most numerous of Microsoft's products. It'd be stupid to make them from something else.

          Their most popular products, Windows and Office, are software. Their 2nd biggest product line, the Xbox, is made of plastic.

          Every Windows computer released by Microsoft so far has been made of metal.
          • The XBox OS ..

            is a modified older version of Windows. It is made of plastic. According to Qwlllllnet, it must be a useless plastic toy.

            Owlllllnet is an idiot, and IF you were trying to defend him, guess what that makes you?
          • Err...

            It's a video game system. That pretty much makes it a toy by definition.
          • The XBox is a toy.

            It IS a video-game console, after all.

            Like any good media-center, its purpose is to kill time, which is essentially what a toy is good for.

            Before I'm done, let's give your logic a spin, shall we?

            You were born from your mother.

            When your mother was pregnant, she ate food.

            When your mother ate food, she threw away the in-edibles.

            The in-edibles she threw away became trash.

            Trash gets stinky and disgusting over time.

            Because your mother ate something that would eventually become trash, it became a part of her.

            You were a part of your mother at that time.

            Therefore, you were born as stinky disgusting trash.

            Do you understand how much sense this made?

            Of course you did, that's why the rest of us didn't.

            You're a nut, you know that?
      • Pixel is not made of plastic

        ... if you want to pay for it :-)
      • Re: Plastic toys are no good for any serious education.

        Tell that to all the Lego fans.
    • I agree with you

      Certainly Android and Windows tablets are the future. I'm not convinced about Chromebooks (don't see these as better than Android tablets). I don't see any other vendors stepping up to offer innovative tablet solutions.
      • It is not really about "innovative tablet solutions"

        It is about the best/cheapest method to access the Khan Academy, at school and at home.

        Chromebooks allow easy and reliable keyboard input, which is important in many cases. They also allow much better screen support/adjustment than tablets do. Maintenance costs are almost zero, apart from the odd dropped unit. I can see a future where young students in particular may benefit from Chromebooks with touch screens.

        It is all done in the cloud and no pricey MS HW/SW is required at all, nor are any expensive educational SW and service providers.

        I can also see older students running dual boot ChromeOS/full Linux Chromebooks.

        I am afraid MS's future in education does not look particularly bright, and I really admire Bill G for supporting the Khan Academy.
        • That's where Surface with a keyboard really shines

          Brilliant innovation thanks to Microsoft.
          • I knew that one was coming

            Thanks for giving me the opportunity to dismiss it.

            The Surface is too expensive and the keyboard/connector probably too fiddly/fragile for young children. The screen adjustment is lousy and the setup not very stable physically on a child's desk.

            The Surface will NEVER be a contender in K-12 education.
          • Never?

            Says you. And you might even be right that it will never be popular.

            Doesn't change the fact that the Surface is the best solution even if it isn't the most popular, unless you want to go on the record and state that the most popular solution is the defacto best solution? Hmm, I wonder what the most popular computing device is in K-12? Oh right, Windows PCs.
          • "Best" solutions generally succeed.

            Perhaps not always in the consumer space, but certainly long term in the corporate and institutional spaces.

            Best for you and many others? Perhaps. Best in K-12 education? NO chance.
        • PS please download this app

        • What do you mean that MS's future in education

          does not look particularly bright? I was just at a school last week and they were using Windows 8 convertible tablets in their classrooms. It looked particularly bright from where I was standing.
          NoMore MicrosoftEver
        • Linux

          No point dualbooting Chrome OS if you have full Linux on your computer. You can simple install the Chrome browser on the full linux installation.
      • Look harder.

        Sorry, I forgot you don't recognize any "good" things does, but you are always the first to give Apple a black eye.
        • apple has no innovative products

          From my post :
          "I don't see any other vendors stepping up to offer innovative tablet solutions."

          That's why I didn't include apple.