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Google's addition to the Apps Marketplace builds on the company's strong relationship with schools and universities by making it easier to find applications. The new Education categoryin the Google Apps Marketplace is designed as both a discovery tool and deployment tool for new applications that also can also integrate with other Google Apps in user's accounts.
The education announcement follows a significant expansion of the Apps Marketplace last November with the addition of Google Apps for Business.
Discovery is not immediately a big issue, as only 20 education-specific apps from 19 vendors are part of the launch. But Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) said it expects the category to grow rapidly. The search giant said over ten million users globally, spanning thousands of universities, colleges and K-12 schools, currently deploy Google Apps in their classrooms.
"We are very optimistic that schools and developers will see the exciting benefits of a centralized storefront of integrated web-apps," a spokesperson for Google told Internetnews.comin an email. "The great success of Google Apps for Education and the popularity of many of our Marketplace apps, such as Aviary, Manymoon, and Sliderocket, has shown the growing demand for web-based solutions for schools."
Apps in the new Education category range from learning management systems (LMS) to student tools and teaching aids. Each app can be accessed through single sign-on and the Google universal navigation bar. Google also noted that many of the applications offer deeper integrations that synchronize with Google Calendar and Documents.
Learning management apps for faculty include Haiku, designed to give teachers the ability to create media-rich class websites, give and auto-grade assessments, annotate assignments and interact online with students. Another is LearnBoost, described as an all-in-one grade book and lesson plan software for teachers that include tools to visualize data and student performance.
Student and administrative apps include EasyBib, an automatic bibliography composer that helps students format sources quickly and accurately to cite in papers and Digication, an online e-Portfolio creation tool that helps students share and showcase their work and achievements online.
"This new education category will make it easier for schools to have more Web apps at their fingertips, including popular existing apps such as Aviary, Grockit, and Learnboost as well as the new apps launching today," Dennis Troper, director of product management for Google Apps Marketplace, said in a postat the company's enterprise blog.