The Implications for EdTech of Google’s Market Share in Education
- How Google has gained significant market share in both software and hardware
- What Google's market position means for EdTech companies
In the past decade, Google has developed a strong foothold in education in both software and hardware.
Between 2012 and 2019, Google’s market share of laptops and tablets purchased for K-12 classrooms went from 5% to 60%. This rapid growth has made the Chromebook the #1 piece of hardware used by students.
On the software side, Google Classroom users doubled to 100M in the early months of the pandemic, and Google Suite for Education (now Google Workspace of Education), went from 90M users to 120M.
In light of Google's position, what are some of the implications for EdTech companies in general?
Below are some thoughts from educators and EdTech professionals about the implications of Google’s position in the EdTech space:
- Integration with Google’s products is a fundamental expectation
- Shared login credentials facilitate efficient learning
- Google’s position reveals opportunities for other EdTechs
- Interconnectivity opens a door for M&A consolidation
Integration with Google’s products is a fundamental expectation
At a fundamental level, some educators will only select EdTech products that integrate well with Google’s education products. Liz Miller, a 15-year educator and current communication manager at EdTech company GetSetup.io, says, "I passed up using lots of cool EdTech because it didn’t integrate with my Google Classroom and just made more work for me." She elaborated:
I have used Google Edtech for over 10 years in private schools, with private students, and corporate training sessions. Students usually know Google tools at least a bit, so their tech easily integrates across educational teams.
Tech, especially Edtech, should make life simpler. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to be successful. That means that EdTech companies trying to compete in the space need to make sure they are simplifying their offerings and not making them more complex. When the pandemic hit, I could seamlessly integrate Kahoot, Quizizz, and Edpuzzle. If companies want to benefit from Google’s hold, they should integrate with Google tech.
Liz Miller, Communication Manager at GetSetup.io
Jennifer Stringer, EdTech marketing consultant, added her thoughts:
Because many educators are managing multiple EdTech tools, they are increasingly making decisions based on these types of integrations. If a company does integrate their product, investing in marketing campaigns to advertise those integrations can make that investment go even further.
Jennifer Stringer, founder and CEO at Square 32 Consulting
Shared login credentials facilitate efficient learning
For some educators, the basic ability to "Sign in with Google" (also called single sign-on or SSO) presents a huge benefit on its own.
Sean Mournighan, an educator with 10 years of classroom experience who currently oversees content creation at ReadTheory.org, lent his thoughts about how Google’s authentication flow makes managing multiple EdTech platforms easier for him and his students:
Google integration in the classroom and throughout Ed-tech makes classroom management with various tools a lot easier. If my students are logged into Google on their devices, they can switch from ReadTheory to NewsELA without any hassle of managing log-ins. As a teacher, I hate losing time dealing with password issues. Google integration and SSO makes my job easier so I can just focus on teaching.
Sean Mournighan, Manager at ReadTheory.org
Google’s position reveals opportunities for other EdTechs
With significant market share in both software and hardware, Google certainly has a strong presence in EdTech’s competitive landscape. But Justin Goldston, professor at Penn State University, suggests that Google’s progress could create a rising tide that benefits all EdTech companies.
Google’s foothold in the EdTech space should be viewed more as an opportunity than Google encroaching on the territory of traditional EdTech providers. Google Education customers are more prominent than ever before, given the increased attention on Chromebooks in K-12 schools.
For EdTech companies that are not part of Google Play for Education, there is an opportunity to engage non-Chromebook customers via other App libraries. While some may see it as competition, the Google Education suite of tools is also a great way to showcase how software and/or hardware can be used in an educational context.
Justin Goldston, Professor at Penn State University and Principal at Academia Worldwide
Interconnectivity opens a door for M&A consolidation
In many ways, Google has become a de facto platform on which the ecosystem of EdTech software providers are stitching their platforms together. Regarding this pattern, Michael Lyon, founder and managing director at Vista Point Advisors, says:
Since all these solutions are integrated with Google, the extra step to integrate with each other is less of a leap, which could lubricate the wheels of consolidation. While in the short term there are a lot of point solutions and fragmentation, given many of these solutions connect with Google, we expect to see more consolidation in the space.
Michael Lyon, Founder and Managing Director at Vista Point Advisors
Is Google for Education the future definition of EdTech?
In an earlier time, the company "Google" became synonymous with "the search engine." Is there a possibility that in the education sphere, Google could become synonymous with "EdTech"? Justin Goldston weighed in:
Although Google is becoming a force in education, they do not have an exclusive claim on impact—not to mention, education may not be Google's focus or primary investment from an R&D perspective. Other players continue to innovate in EdTech with traditional and non-traditional approaches and partnerships that reach far beyond Google's territory. There are plenty of opportunities for all stakeholders in education to participate and benefit.