Millions of students and hundreds of thousands of teachers in New York state schools will get access to the free Education edition of the Google Apps hosted collaboration and communication suite, as well as training and technical support.
Google Apps will be available to teachers and more than 3.1 million students in grades kindergarten to 12 in public and private schools through a joint effort led by the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in partnership with the New York State Teacher Centers and associated Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, the New York State teacher unions and New York State professional organizations, the organizations will announce on Tuesday.
Other states that are providing Google Apps access to their elementary, middle and high schools include Oregon, Iowa, Colorado and Maryland, according to Google.
Google Apps includes e-mail, instant messaging, calendar and office productivity applications like word processing. It competes with offerings like Microsoft's Live@EDU, a free hosted collaboration and communication suite that includes Office Web Apps, Windows Live SkyDrive and Outlook Live.
Google, Microsoft and other vendors like IBM's Lotus division and Cisco are all scrambling to push their cloud-hosted collaboration and communication suites in government agencies, large corporations, small and medium-size businesses and academic institutions.
These suites use the software-as-a-service model, which many believe will become the preferred method for business applications' delivery.