Google introduced quite a bunch of changes to its education-focused services today, including new features and accessibility improvements for Chrome OS as well as new capabilities for Meet. These updates are meant to support teachers and students in virtual learning setups as they adapt to the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another Google service that's receiving an overhaul is G Suite for Education. The company announced today that it is rebranding that service suite to Workspace for Education with four different tiers, an increase from the previous two-tiered model. The free edition of G Suite for Education will now be called Workspace for Education Fundamentals while G Suite Enterprise for Education will be known as Workspace for Education Plus.
If you’re already using either of the legacy tiers, you’ll automatically transition to Workspace for Education Fundamentals or Plus with no major changes, except for the new name and fresh features. That means you'll still be able to communicate through Meet, Gmail, and Chat as well as access Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms, among other existing features from G Suite for Education.
The two new tiers are Workspace for Education Standard and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade. The Education Standard tier is an upgraded version of Education Fundamentals that includes additional features such as better security and analytics tools designed to help you proactively defend your school from threats and keep your privacy in place.
On the other hand, the Teaching and Learning tier includes features from Education Fundamentals or Education Standard with additional capabilities including better video conferencing and class experiences as well as tools to check whether the projects submitted by students are original works. Education Fundamentals and Education Plus are live starting today while the Education Standard and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade tiers will be available from April 14.
Google first rebranded its suite of productivity and collaboration tools to Workspace in October of last year. Today's announcement provides more options for education users in terms of choosing the right type of service for their organizational needs.
In addition, Google is introducing changes to its data storage policy for education customers. It will start transitioning schools to a pooled storage model next year with a 100TB baseline for shared cloud storage. It's a significant change from the unlimited free storage, owing to the growing demand for storage from education customers. This modification will apply to existing Google Workspace for Education customers in July 2022 and take effect for new customers that go onboard next year.
Besides these changes, Google plans to add the ability to save drafts in Forms for Education Fundamentals customers in the future. A new meeting transcript feature in Meet will also become available to the Teaching and Learning Upgrade users. All of those capabilities along with Classroom roster syncing will go live for Education Plus customers in the future as well.