In the wake UC Davis’ announcement that the school was ending an Apps pilot for faculty because of privacy concerns, Google is celebrating a milestone. As of today, 8 million students, faculty and staff at educational institutions around the world are using Google Apps. Google says that the U.S. has about 16 million college students total, so the productivity suite is steadily gaining its piece of the pie.
In total, Google has around 25 million Apps users, so education makes up a generous slice of the suite’s userbase. Google has made a strong push to recruit educational institutions to use Google Apps, launching a new centralized site targeted towards recruiting educational institutions. It makes sense; not only is it a huge market for the productivity suite, but schools and colleges are where many people get trained, start relying on, and form brand allegiances to productivity apps.
Some of the new schools that have “Gone Google” are Morehouse, University of Rhode Island, University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Metropolitan State College of Denver and North Carolina State University. And according to the Campus Computing survey, more than 80 percent of schools in the U.S. have moved to cloud computing or are considering it, and of those almost 60 percent choose Google Apps, so these new schools have plenty of company.
But the biggest barrier is actually convincing schools and institutions that moving to the cloud doesn’t mean a sacrifice in privacy, as exhibited by the situation at UC Davis. Of course adding more features and making the suite generally more appealing to consumers will certainly encourage usage, but the real battle is in the cloud. But as cloud computing becomes more widely adopted, Google should see steady adoption of its offering. Clearly, it’s already happening.