Google scored a big win today, and by all accounts, the state of Oregon made out well, too. This is because the Oregon school system will begin using Google Apps for Education, saving it a boatload of cash while allowing Google to increase its market share.
In fact, Oregon is the first state to agree to make Google Apps available to all of its public schools, meaning this is a significant breakthrough for Google. And if all goes well, it could represent the start of a trend, since other states would want to reap the same benefits as Oregon.
As for the exact nature of those benefits, the Oregon Department of Education will supposedly save $1.5 million per year by switching to Google Apps. And there are some other consequences that won't show up on any balance sheet.
Jaime Casap, a Google Apps Education manager, wrote on the Official Google Blog, "With Google Apps, students in Oregon can build websites or email teachers about a project. . . . And instead of just grading a paper at the end of the process, Oregonian teachers can help students with their docs in real time, coaching them along the way. It's critical that students learn how to use the kind of productivity technology they'll need throughout their lives, and Oregon is helping students across the state do just that."
Oregon and Google are moving fast, too, considering a "Request an Oregon Google Apps account now!" link is already live on an Oregon Virtual School District site.