Google offers freebie laptops to 600 schools

Top math students will get free computers to foster technical education at schools with minorities, Google said.

Google employees who got Nexus One mobile phones weren't the only ones who benefitted from the company's largesse this holiday season. The search company also gave more than 600 schools five computers each in an effort to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills.

The schools were selected from a list of 1,000 of the country's top-rated high schools, said Google spokeswoman Emily Wood.

"These high schools have significant populations of students from under-represented backgrounds as far as technology goes," she said. "We wanted to look at schools already doing a good job of providing education, not give laptops to just any old school, and to give them an extra boost."

Google notified schools by letter and phone, Wood said.

"We wanted to reach out during this holiday season to thank you for the impact you've had on students and the impact you continue to have in your school and community," said one letter signed by Laszlo Bock, Google's vice president of people operations, and seen by CNET News. "In what has been a tumultuous year, you and other members of the academic community have distinguished yourselves through your passion, your compassion, and your desire to change the world. We would like to honor your impact in the form of a one-time grant of five laptops to be given to your top 2 male and top 2 female math students and your math or computer science department chair."

So what are the students getting, exactly?

Each will receive a 15-inch Lenovo laptop, customized with Fathead skins and bundled with a Google backpack, Wood said. Delivery scheduled before the end of February.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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