Google is in the process of shuttering its Play for Education app program, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Play for Education gives educators a simple entry point into the potentially daunting ecosystem of apps available on Google Play, the official app store for Android devices. The app discovery storefront, full of content for the classroom curated by educators, can also update books and software on every device in a class in real-time.
As of March 14, Google will stop selling new Google Play for Education licenses for Android tablets and Chromebooks. However, Play for Education will continue to function, and the company will continue to support existing devices until their end-of-life dates, according to an official statement from the company obtained by EdTech: Focus on K–12.
"We're committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks, which are the No. 1 selling device in U.S. K–12 education, and a strong and growing ecosystem of educational apps. We'll continue to support our Google Play for Education customers and the devices that they have purchased,” a Google representative wrote in the statement.
Google Play for Education was first announced in 2013 as an Android tablet–based educational app discovery program. A year later, Play for Education came to Chromebooks, Google’s flagship notebook. The device has been a huge success for the company, currently making up more than 51 percent of the K–12 device market. Now, Chromebooks with touchscreen interfaces such as Asus’ Chromebook Flip are on the rise, offering tablet-like interactions on the Chromebook platform.
Google’s internal support for educational apps on the app storefront appears to have paid off. A recent Pew Research Center study of more than 1 million apps on the app store revealed that education was the largest sector, comprising 8.6 percent of all apps.