Google Announces Some Education Milestones of its Own

Posted on January 22, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Google, Chromebook, Chrome OS with 31 Comments

Microsoft isn’t the only one pushing its education efforts this week at BET: Google has announced some interesting data of its own.

“It started with an idea in 2006,” Google director John Vamvakitis writes. “How might teaching and learning improve if we brought Google’s suite of productivity tools to schools?”

I suspect the question was more like, “How might Google thwart Microsoft in this key market?” … but whatever. No one can refute the impact that Google services and Chromebooks have had on education. But what we have now are some hard numbers.

Google claims that 80 million educators and students around the world now use G Suite for Education. That compares to 155 million active users of Microsoft’s Office 365 for Education.

Meanwhile, 40 million students and educators rely on Google Classroom to stay organized and support creative teaching techniques, Google says. Here, the comparison is unclear, but Microsoft says that there are over 16 million monthly active users of Microsoft Teams, and that Teams has seen 251 percent growth in education in the last year. Microsoft does have other related offerings, however, like Flipgrid, which picks up over 80,000 new educators every month.

Most interesting, perhaps, 30 million students and educators use Chromebooks both inside and outside the classroom. The only number I have to compare this to is the 1 million new Windows 10 PCs that come online every month. So the total number—whatever it is—has jumped by 24 million units over the past two years. I suspect there are some triple-digit number of Windows PCs in use in education overall.

Google is also highlighting something I’ve been warning about for years: Chromebook usage growth isn’t just relegated to the United States, as many continue to believe. Instead, Chromebook is seeing strong growth in Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, and Europe as well.

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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Google Announces Some Education Milestones of its Own”

  1. madthinus

    I just feel that this the frontline of the war Microsoft cannot loose and they have not done enought to pish back against Chromebooks. They have not addressed Chromebooks biggest advantages. It just works and it is very simple to manage. They have attacked the costs but that is not the point. Time and complexity of support is far more important in this sector.

    • paulpotter

      In reply to madthinus: Hit the nail right on the head!

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to madthinus:

      The market share they have here is worthless. Children shed these devices out of K5. Its on to Windows or OSX. The educational market has always been owned by Windows and Chrome books are not changing this at all.

      • TrevorL

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        In my region of Australia, every student in year 7 and onwards is given a Chromebook. Don't know how they are used, but they all have them.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to TrevorL:

          Well it looks like they now have a chance to get them off that platform going forward.

        • IanYates82

          In reply to TrevorL:

          My daughter, starting year 4 next week, is getting a school-issued iPad. We parents were all asked for feedbcak about the device being picked (this is the first year they're doing something other than having ancient laptops shared between classrooms). I argued for Chromebooks and/or Windows PCs - at least something with a keyboard and a semblance of learning about "files", etc. Nope - they'd already made up their mind (at least that's how the survey felt)

          I've got an open mind about how it'll go but I do wish they had gone Chromebook or Windows device...

  2. sunupoy

    This is a great opportunity for us. Thanks for sharing this wonderful educational news.

  3. malindawilson

    The approach to education changed dramatically last years with the help of the internet, the blockchain, iOT, and education services.

    It feels to me that Google is slowly taking over the world, but I don't feel like I'm afraid for our future.

     I like how integrated everything is for Google Education (sharing documents, revision history, which helps teachers to explain to parents why their child has gotten a zero for cheating)

     This is definitely a great system can be accessed from everywhere! 

    Can you imagine those opportunities 10-15 years ago?

  4. bigjon-x64

    My wife is a teacher in a school district using Chromebooks...the teachers HATE them.

  5. MutualCore

    I suspect Windows Lite will be a game changer for Microsoft in education. The issue isn't cost of the laptops, but the ease of deployment and updating which Chrome OS has over Windows 10 for Education right now.

  6. crystalcheung

    I teach in a college of Hong Kong.

    Our school has both Office365 and Google for Education accounts for both staff and students. The sad fact is MANY teachers (and hence students) had decided to use Google for Education. They all have Office desktop apps installed in their 2-in-1's but they are just reluctant to use Office365.

    It may be true that students eventually need to use Office365 when they go to work. But at least Google has crushed the market of Office365 to a certain extent. And I am not sure how long Microsoft can survive as the number one choice for the enterprise.

    The deployment of Chromebook does not tell us the whole picture. We should look at the number of people using Google for Education.

  7. jrickel96

    Interesting since Statcounter basically says there are only 26.5 million Chromebook users in the world TOTAL. NetMarketShare says 5 million.

    So Google reports a number larger than both global trackers just for education.

    I suspect Google is fudging the numbers and counting the massive amounts of returned Chromebooks as active users. Even if we split the difference between statcounter and NMS we are only talking about 15 million active ChromeOS users globally.

    No major universities have adopted ChromeOS. No major businesses have deployed ChromeOS in scale. Many businesses are abandoning G-Suite.

    And Paul keeps playing Chicken Little. Funny how often NMS and Statcounter have been used by him in the past to valid his positions but he abandons them when he wants to keep making his ludicrous "Sky is falling!" Chromebook proclamations.

    When private schools and colleges start using them, I'll pay attention. When K-12 use Google because its cheap, all they do is set kids back.

    I know of no business that uses them or takes anyone that uses them for productivity seriously - and I work with a lot of big names.

    Dig a little deeper into those Statcounter and NMS reports then talk to some vendors that sell to K-12 and ask them about return volume of Chromebooks. It's high. Talk to retailers about it. I had a discussion with someone in management at Amazon the other day for business and he mentioned how Chromebooks are always very high on the list for most returned items from the electronics side of thing. Best Buy has had lower volume of Chromebooks sold to schools through it's school fulfillment side and had cancellations of orders.

    So those hard numbers are likely fudged. Google won't give you anything to back them up or tell you the methodology of how they count them.

    You should talk to some of the schools that "use" G-Suite. Some left it but are still technically active and have whole student bodies registered - and none of them use it. As I said, be wary of how Google tabulates. MS can be screwy as well, but at least they are reporting Active Windows users now and have told you what counts in that metric. Google has done no such thing.

    • Winner

      In reply to jrickel96:

      The 80 million number was "G Suite for education". That's not the same as Chromebooks. You can use GSuite on a PC.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Wow. MS fanboy alert. So, Google 'fudge the numbers' but MS don't? Netstat and Statcounter are basic indications at best, and there seems to be a pretty big margin for error with them. The bottom line is Windows is still very popular in schools, but ChromeOS is gaining in popularity all the time. If ChromeOS wasn't doing so well, there wouldn't be so many manufacturers still selling Chromebooks would there!

      As for businesses, no, ChromeOS hasn't made much of a dent, but to be honest, with Microsoft's stranglehold of the Enterprise market (their only real remaining market), that no surprise. There is room in the Enterprise for Chromebooks though - especially PoS systems, and tele-marketing devices where a browser is probably all that's required. Many more use cases too I'm sure. Time will tell, but 10 years ago (even 5!), nobody could foresee just how dramatically MS could be overtaken and lose the consumer market. You'd also have thought that with Windows so entrenched in the Enterprise, WM would have been a natural fit and thrive there - it didn't and failed dramatically - MS are actually having to fight now to even retain what they have.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to ghostrider:

        "..ChromeOS is gaining in popularity all the time." Based on what? In 8 years they claim to have sold around 30 million devices = 3.7 million per year. The market share is currently less than 1%. EPIC FAIL.

        There is no growing popularity on that system at all and now they are going to be hitting a brick wall again Microsoft's renewed offerings in the space. Cost savings are gone vs Microsoft and Microsoft has the better educational software offerings.

        Chrome OS / Chromebooks are a total waste of time as it is a "walking dead" platform.

        P.S. You sound like the fanboy. At least jrickel96 refers to actually data for his assumptions.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to ghostrider:

        I trust Microsoft way more than I trust Google. Google has a problem with the truth and that's a fact.

  8. Sir_Timbit

    I work in IT for a school district in Canada and have definitely seen the Chromebook transition, much like many other districts in North America... All our schools use Chromebooks now, with the exception of certain high schools where they still have--in addition to the Chromebooks--PC labs for running Photoshop/Premiere etc or Autodesk suites. As mentioned elsewhere, management is quick and easy, and they just work for what we need them to do.

    I bought a touch-based Chromebook for our kids for home use and that gets about as much use as our iPad, if not more, simply because it has a keyboard. I've been impressed with the Android support so far, and printing to our non-Google cloud printer just works as well.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Sir_Timbit:

      There are no high schools where Chromebooks are the platform. It is all Windows with either iMacs in the schools or Air Macs.

      I actually think it is wrong to have K thru K2 on any type of computer for their development. But regardless they all leave behind their Chromebooks and graduate into PC's (Windows or OSX).

      Now that Microsoft has stepped up the game it is more logical to get the Kids on a platform that is appropriate for their ages and that can handle their needs as they grow. Would also reduce costs.

      We can credit Chromebooks with competition and getting MS fired up to finally deliver the right solution to the K - 5. And I say K 5 as all of the schools I have seen start the transition to Windows or OSX at grade 6. - which makes sense of course.

      Having to maintain three OSs inside schools is not smart and I predict Chromebooks will lose out over the next 5 years. It is a useless platform as children grow.

      • Omen_20

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Most students going to college to become office workers don't really need much. Everything is moving towards PWA, even Office 365. Microsoft knows this which is why they're trying to team up with Google. So it's weird to say ChromeOS is useless for people when Microsoft is so sure that it isn't, that they're molding their OS to be similar. This is also why Edge is switching over to Chromium and Blink, so that they can keep up.

        • Stooks

          In reply to Omen_20:

          PWA's are so overblown. I yet to see any thing but really simple stuff converted and even that is not anything special.

          I predict by the end of 2019 hardly anyone will be talking about PWA's. Microsoft did NOT choose to move to the Chromium engine because of PWA's.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Omen_20:

          It is useless as it offers nothing that Windows 10 doesn't except one thing - less capabilities. I think we can rely on the data - Chrome OS market share is less than 1% today after 8 years. Its really a non argument. Chromebooks will change nothing for our future workers and supporting them just adds complexity to a school system.

          It has been good for getting MS into the game with focus and purpose and now that MS has shown up its not an opportunity for school systems anymore but a drag on management. School IT professionals want less maintenance not more so adding in a third OS that has no future for the kids, and no financial savings, doesn't make sense now.

      • ronaldavis

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Maybe where you are, but my wife teaches 12 grade English in California and only uses chromebooks. I think it's true in most of the other subjects as well at her school.

        They have several Chrome carts that they push to the classes when needed. The only Windows machines are the teacher laptops, however they could just use a Chromebook, since all the software is web based. They moved from office to google docs at the same time. She was fearing the changes, but it's turned out great.

        I get it, I'm a .net developer, but to say no high schools are on a Chromebook platform seems to be wishful thinking.

        Similarly, my son's elementary school had a 5-8 iPad program, but that is changing over to Chromebooks. This one definitely makes sense.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to ronaldavis:

          Again that is just not the norm for high schools. Chromebooks is for the kiddies - not the young adults. It is a waste of time for them to be working on them. It is the not the platform the world runs on and there is nothing now or on the horizon to change that.

          Now that Microsoft offerings are clearly a better proposal for schools the Chromebook experiment will be coming to an end; you will not see this tomorrow but we will see it over the next 18 - 24 months in the education market.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to ronaldavis:

          Your example is the exception, not the norm. This is the first I have ever heard of a grade 12 class being on Chromebooks. Gonna suck for those moving on to uni.

      • Stooks

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Chromebooks are are sellout IMHO. You are selling out those kids because you want to save a buck.

        Public schools in my area use Google. Private DO NOT. My kids grade school was private and they, for a while, did the Google thing. Mainly Google Docs because they used iPad's and Windows PC's. They mostly had PC's with Windows (each class, plus the computer lab). They did have a handful of Chromebooks for a while and none of the kids liked them. It was all being pushed by a few teachers at the time.

        Parents finally chimed in with "they will not use this stuff in the job market" and the moved away from it. However that was after my kids had moved to high school.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Stooks:

          The private schools in my area have Chromebooks but exclusively for the youngest grades. Grade six and up it is all Windows or Macs.

          I really do believe that the game is over for Chromebooks with Microsoft stepping up - it kinda reminds me of when they killed Wordperfect. They are putting together a better solution that is viable for the child's entire education and on to a work life. No school IT department wants three OSs to manage and if you have to pick it is a Chromebook solution that makes the least sense for the child.

          We will not see the shrink in Chrome Books market share for another 12 - 24 months but it has begun. MS is right there with pricing now and some crazy good educational software that Google cannot over come. Lights out.

  9. yoshi

    I would have guessed the numbers to be higher than this, but it does show how much Google has grown in this market. My daughter's school uses Chromebooks and Google services for everything, but she's only in elementary school. I'm curious to see how this might change or stay the same as she goes through middle and high school.

    Having said that, she also has a Chromebook at home that gets used about once a month(if that). So I guess their success in education may not translate to "real world" use. Time will tell.

  10. Stooks

    "I suspect the question was more like" can we start collecting data and monetizing it, from people at the earliest possible age???

    My kids grade schools used Google products, their private high schools use Office 365. The one in college, that particular university (private school) uses Office 365.

    All of my kids hated chrome books when they had to use them.

  11. mindomine

    This is brilliant , such technologies are changing the face of education .