Google eyes foray into education with online app store

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | December 29, 2010 10:29 PM EST

Google Inc. is planning to harness the growing market for educational software and emerge as a single point of access to a majority of popular education applications available today, by integrating all in an exclusive online marketplace, according to recent reports from Bloomberg Businessweek.

While most of the revenue for Google so far has come from search advertising, it now eyes a share of sale proceeds from software developers for whom it will facilitate sales through the online store. A few applications  from product companies such as Aviary and Grockit are already available in the Google Apps Marketplace, the current online store of the Internet major. However, any sales generated through the  store accrues entirely to the developer at present. Under the Company's new plans there is likely to be a change in this model.

The education software market is at present a booming one, and with Bill Gates himself endorsing, "Five years from now on the web for free you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world," there seems to be little place for doubt.  Companies, too, recognize the potential and have been targeting this huge market in various pioneering ways.

There has also been significant success in attracting venture capital and PE funds. The success of the Rosetta Stone IPO and more recently the successful financing drive by ConnectEdu are cases in point.

As offerings become more sophisticated and abundant, more and more segments within the education sector are embracing technology as a tool that aids the entire process from curriculum through teaching to learning management.  Language learning software, test prep applications and educational games have created a substantial following among individual users as well.

According to a report from market researcher NPD Group, revenues from educational softwares shot up by 15 per cent in 2009; this is expected to grow even further this year.

Bloomberg reports that the market would hit a size of close to $5 billion this year. For Google, therefore, to become a one-stop-shop for the vast population of users, with a claim on a part of proceeds, would obviously be a winning proposition.

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