Google is putting an end to its Play for Education program and plans to stop selling the program's licenses starting on March 14.
Google will still support current Play for Education users until their tablets reach end-of-life. As for the teachers, the company states that they can continue accessing the Play for Education program when they need to seek content and send it to students.
According to a statement from a Google spokesperson cited by TechCrunch, Google "will no longer sell Google Play for Education licenses. We're committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks, which are the number one 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."
Google launched its Play for Education program in 2013 as a way for educators in the U.S. to buy apps and books more easily and push the content to students' Android tablets. A year later, the company also released the program to its high-selling Chromebooks.
Google Chromebooks now make up more than half the devices that U.S. students use in classrooms, based on data provided by Futuresource Consulting. This is major progress for the device considering that, in 2012, Google Chromebooks only had a sub-one percent share from the total number of education-based gadgets.
Records show that in 2015, there were at least 8.9 million devices that were purchased by the schools in the U.S. Of that number, 4.4 million were Google Chromebooks. That means there are around 30,000 new Chromebooks purchased on every school day.
While Google didn't say point-blank why it decided to stop selling Play for Education licenses, its recent statement somehow gives the impression that it wants to focus more on Chromebooks. Bear in mind that the company did mention that people will still be able to access the program's educational apps. However, teachers may find it more difficult to make their students download the required content once licenses are no longer being sold.
In late January, Google announced the expansion of its Expeditions Pioneer program, which is designed to deliver virtual reality field trips content. Currently, the program's virtual reality software includes destinations such as the Great Wall of China and Mars. Other destinations in the pipeline include the Great Barrier Reef and Buckingham Palace.