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Google sees future in educational apps

Google is working with educational software companies to develop a marketplace for educational apps, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The new venture would provide third-party developers with a way to connect with tech-friendly schools and universities. “If we can provide access to education apps to our 10 million users in thousands of schools, then that would be a win all around,” Obadiah Greenberg, Google’s business development manager for education apps, tells Bloomberg.

It’s not solely an investment in the minds of future heads of state and would-be Mars explorers. Spearheading an educational app marketplace is also a potentially lucrative business move on Google’s part. Educational software sales in U.S. alone are expected to surpass $4.6 billion this year with potential to climb above $5 billion well before the launch of the first manned mission to the red planet.

Google already offers schools and colleges its own cloud-based free software programs that include Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sites. There’s also several third-party educational apps currently available through the Google Apps Marketplace, which launched in March of 2010.

Currently, most of the revenue generated in the Google Apps Marketplace ends up in the pockets of developers. That is soon to change: Google plans to begin taking a 20 percent share from sales starting sometime in 2011. However, it’s not clear if the educational app marketplace will be subject to the same fee structure.