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Google pushes Android tablets for the classroom

The company's new education initiative takes a page from Apple's book and focuses on incorporating tablets into schools.

James Martin/CNET

Google's new education initiative, Google Play for Education, is designed to put more tablets into K-12 classrooms, the company said Wednesday at its Google I/O developers conference.

The new store launches this fall. It enables teachers deploy an app or an e-book to all of their students' tablets at once, and has apps that have been recommended by other teachers to make sure they are appropriate for specific ages and grades.

"Each app has been recommended by a group of educators," Engineering Director Chris Yerga said during the keynote. "This is key because teachers trust other teachers."

He said the company tested the new service with six elementary schools in New Jersey. Educators tried more than 500 apps in its early testing and Google is looking for more apps. The company will accept apps this summer.

Digitizing education has been a tough job for companies and schools because of the price of technology, but it's definitely an area of interest for tech bigwigs. Apple has worked to incorporate iPad tablets into classrooms, and it saw some success last year with iPad sales for schools beating PC sales.

Google, obviously, thinks its Google Play for Education will make more of a difference.

"Teachers told us in education there's a huge gap between what's possible in education and what's practical," Yerga said. "Then they told us it's Google's job to fix this."