Private label Google apps (for education, too)

Private label Google apps are here … for business and education:

In other words, you can package up Google’s apps under your own label and distribute them for free. Currently, for education, this is limited to email, calendaring, and IM, but more are coming.

(Education is near and dear to my heart, because that’s the area my company focuses on.)

What this means is that any provider of basic technology services to education will have to work hard – very hard – to sell them to schools and districts. That includes features like word processing, spreadsheets, web authoring, presentations, you name it. Not just the standard email and calendar.

Writely, Google Spreadsheets, Blogger, Google Page Creator, Gmail, Google Calendar … these are all coming, but these are just the beginning.

Sucks for Microsoft, maybe, but more than that: sucks for lots of web 2.0 application companies. It’s not necessarily deadly for them, but it is a competitor, and a tough one.

The one challenge in education: currently most of these apps are ad-supported. And that’s obviously Google’s long-term strategy. So ad-phobic educators will look for alternatives.

This reminds me of what Nicholas Carr recently wrote about: the death of IT as competitive advantage (because of ubiquity). In a different, nasty way that might come true: in the long term educational technology vendors will have a very hard time competing with free.

Written from my (free) Gmail account …

[tags] google, apps, private label, writely, spreadsheets, gmail, calendar, page creator, blogger, free, nicholas carr, john koetsier, death of IT [/tags]

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