Google offers freebie laptops to 600 schools

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

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors | Semiconductors | Web browsers | Quantum computing | Supercomputers | AI | 3D printing | Drones | Computer science | Physics | Programming | Materials science | USB | UWB | Android | Digital photography | Science Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read

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.