Following on the heels of President Obama’s speech to school children across the United States (in which he mentioned Google), Google has made a “back-to-school” announcement of its own. This fall, over five million students at “thousands of schools” in more than 145 countries will be using Google Apps’ Education offering, which represents a user increase of 400 percent from this time last year.
Google is also launching a new centralized site targeted towards recruiting educational institutions. It includes tips on how to switch to Google Apps, the top ten reasons why to make the switch, discussion forums and more. And of course, the site is packed with testimonials from schools like Temple University, that attest to the popularity, cost-effectiveness and ease of use of Google Apps in the educational space.
It comes as no surprise that Google is actively recruiting both student and educational institutions. This market is key because that’s where many people get trained, start relying on, and form brand allegiances to productivity apps. Google also recently announced that its ambitious and potentially powerful email/IM hybrid, Google Wave, will be rolled out to schools first. Google recognizes that brand loyalty is definitely forged at these schools (look at Apple’s strategy), and is undoubtedly looking to capture share of these impressionable minds.