8 million students on Google AppsMay 7, 2010: 6:20 PM ET
60% of U.S. universities with hosted email use Google Apps for Education.
That is quite a startling number, and it's even more impressive if you consider that only two months ago, Google had 7 million student users. Google has made strong moves into the education sector even as some colleges, like Yale, have put migrations to Google on hold because of faculty concerns.
Google's Apps for Education includes a school-branded Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, and the Docs suite of collaborative web office products. When students come back to school in the fall, they'll also have access to school-run Picasa albums, Blogger, Youtube, and other Google consumer services.
The move from campus-run servers often saves schools a lot of money. Vanderbilt University is quoted as saving $750,000 annually using Apps.
Google Apps are generally much more robust than traditional campus systems and are appreciated by students, many of whom are already familiar with Google's suite of products. After using Gmail in high school, it must be hard for students, like those at Yale, to learn Horde.
According to the Campus Computing Survey, over 80% of U.S. colleges and universities now use hosted email solutions, and of those, 60% are with Google (GOOG). Yahoo's (YHOO) Zimbra and Microsoft (MSFT) make up the other 40%.
Getting students acquainted with technology is a good way to build long-term relationships with a company's products and services. Apple (AAPL) famously sells its computers at relatively steep discounts to students, hoping to build long-term success.
The hope is that as students graduate, they take the technology that they've used in school with them into the private sector. Students are also considered trend-setters.