With the introduction of its Premiere Apps suite
into the marketplace, we posited Google was getting its ducks in order to turn Apps into a major enterprise-ready contender
But the search giant has pulled a surprise move, having released their "educational" edition of Apps, dubbed the Google Apps Education Edition, to registered non-profits in the US at no cost.The Google Apps suite includes Google Start Page, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Page Creator, an insta-publish webpage maker.
, the Apps Education Edition was only available to accredited non-profit K-12 schools, colleges and universities. And while Standard Apps is free, it's just not as robust as the Education and Premiere Editions, the latter of which retails for US$50 per user per year.
Even then, the cost-based editions could do with beefing-up in terms of security and scalability - but their recent acquisition of Postini
can help with both.
It appears the "Don't be evil" joshers have a philanthropic streak after all. But before we wax too poetic, consider how much play Apps will get in legitimate educational institutions (and enterprises!) if just a fraction of the country's non-profits jump aboard.
Product Director Matthew Glotzbach of Google Enterprise says Google already has non-profits numbering in the hundreds using the Apps Standard Edition, so encouraging a transition shouldn't be too much of a hassle, we think. Apps Standard, while convenient, suffers occasional functionality quirks.
Glotzbach is all halos and smiles, however. In the InformationWeek report, he dubbed non-commercial and charitable efforts "just important, if not more important, for fulfilling our mission and the good of the world."
Sounds grandiose - but then again, that's just how Google rolls. According to
Philanthropy.com, last spring Google formed a partnership with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to build online maps documenting the Darfur crisis.
"We’re always looking at ways we can take our technologies and use them to serve as catalysts for education and action in global and local policy issues for all types of organizations,” Glotzbach added.
Last night Google hosted a party in tangent with NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, an organization comprised of IT professionals that help non-profit orgs put new technology to work. Amongst warm, frothy friends and eyes glazed over with cocktail dreams, they announced the news.