Today Google announced their Drive for Education, a premium version of Google Apps that includes unlimited cloud storage at no extra cost to students utilizing Apps for Education. The program also provides access to the Apps Vault, a service that allows schools to archive and manage student emails, along with ‘Enhanced Auditing’ which enables the detailed monitoring and tracking of every file uploaded.
The same functionality that Google is bringing to Drive for Education was already previously made available to Drive for Work customers. Drive for Work is an identical service that offers the same unlimited cloud storage and management tools at a cost of $10 a user per month. The company states that their educational offerings are already employed by 30 million educators and students worldwide, all of which will have access to these new services.
Drive has become a staple of education since its birth less than three years ago and has embarked on a mission to eliminate the book bag by creating a technological learning environment that is adaptable and comprehensive for students around the world. Drive for Education is their next push in this effort, allowing users to “put an end to worries about storage limits.”
Google understands that when students employ Drive for Education’s offering of unlimited cloud storage, security is key. In their announcement of the new program, the company reiterated and outlined the security measures that are in place for all Drive users. Essentially, data is encrypted on the original device, en-route to the data centers, and throughout all of Google’s servers in the process. Files on the company’s servers also continue to be owned by the users and personal information is not sold to third parties.
In addition to the newly announced features, Apps for Education continues to offer appealing benefits to schools. It is important to note that the service is free to utilize; schools are not charged for it. Participating schools are also allowed to have their school domain be attached to an email managed by Gmail, which again, can be thoroughly managed through the Apps Vault. Educators may also benefit from using the calendar to sync classes and events with students on campuses. Online shared work spaces are also available to classes.
In the blog post which outlined today’s announcement, users were also reminded that these new features can also go hand in hand with Classroom, another new service recently launched. Classroom allows educators to create a shared online space for classes, where students can turn in assignments, receive grades, and interact with school faculty. Considering that students now have unlimited space on the cloud, this alternative to turning in paper assignments may prove appealing to classes, since it is another way to condense tasks into the entire platform.
The restrictions of online giant’s educational platform are seemingly nonexistent. They will not give out personal information short of a court order, which is beneficial in an age where similar companies like Facebook are being constantly scrutinized for lack of transparency or utilization of user info. On the technological end, the cloud is not just unlimited for students, rather, their ability to upload is near-unlimited as well. User uploads only become restricted if they surpass the five terabyte limit.
Today’s announcement provides further insight into the direction that Google wants to go with their Drive for Education by now offering unlimited cloud storage to students and educators. The service is making an active effort to become the all-inclusive educational platform. This announcement will further that mission by allowing the provided benefits to sync even more seamlessly.
By Brett Stewart