Google adds Apps, Chrome features for education

The new features are designed to simplify grouping, installing and distributing Web applications

Google rolled out on Monday new application-management capabilities for IT administrators at schools that use Chromebook computers.

The new features are designed to simplify and improve the process of grouping, installing and distributing Web applications from the Chrome Web Store, Google said in a blog post.

One of the new features are what Google calls "grade-level application packs," which contain sets of Chrome Web Store applications that can be tightly woven with the Google Apps for Education cloud-based e-mail and collaboration suite.

The application packs are tailored for specific grades and IT administrators can install them via the Chromebook management console.

"Many of them are free and we've worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases," wrote Vidya Nagarajan, the product manager for Chromebooks for Education in the blog post.

Meanwhile, IT administrators can now also create their own application collections and make them available to their schools in the Chrome Web Store. These collections can contain not only applications vendors have posted on the Chrome Web Store, but also Web applications the schools bought through other channels, as well as Web applications developed in-house by school developers. The collections can be made visible only to users from the specific schools.

In May, Google rolled out a set of enhancements to the Chrome OS, and Samsung launched two new Chromebooks, a laptop and a desktop designed to be faster and more versatile than previous models.

Although Chromebooks haven't precisely lit up the PC market, Google officials say the company remains deeply committed to the Chrome OS and the machines that run it.

The education market is one where Chromebooks have been particularly well received, according to Google.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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