Should Schools Still Go with Google?

I liked Google Wave when it first came out. However, I should have known by the title (might as well call it Wave It Goodbye) that it wouldn't last. I used to keep track of my news, my reader and my e-mail through my iGoogle account. I was a fan of Picnik and kept waiting for it to become an integrated feature in Google Drive. My students once used Google Notebook, Knol and Google Code Search.

All of those products are gone. I get it. Sometimes they re-invent the same apps (Google Pages became Google Sites and Google Docs becomes Google Drive). However, after losing so many Google products, I am less likely to participate in Google Plus. Unlike the crowded slummy, ad-filled site of Facebook, Plus feels like a really awesome, minimalist home that might get the wrecking ball at any moment.

When I first read about Google Keep, I figured that they decided to name it for the irony. The chances that they will keep Keep for the next decade is slim to none. It looks pretty nifty, but I won't even bother trying it out. I've been burned too many times.

So, it has me thinking about Google and the classroom. I am still a fan of Chromebooks, but I am worried that they might phase out Chrome OS if Chromebooks don't sell well enough. I am a fan of Gmail and Blogger and Google Drive (all seem safe) but I am reticent about having students use Google Sites for portfolios.

On some level, going with Google is a bit like dating someone who is wild, inconsistent and apt to cheat with the hopes that maybe it will get better after marriage. Guess what? Google's not getting better. And why should they? They're Google. And they don't have to. They're Google.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Do schools really want to do business with a company that has a clear track record of bait and switch? Is that the price for innovation? Are we moving into a place of constant uncertainty that values instant results over innovation?

With Google, we pretty much pay for nothing. Should we be shocked when that's what we get in return for our lack of investment?

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

John Spencer is a teacher, author, speaker, and incessant doodler.
He is the co-author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard
and the co-founder of Write About .

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