One weekend in March, Javier Soltero, a Google vice president, got an email from his team in Europe. Italy’s Minister of Education needed to move the country’s entire school system online, right away, and wanted to know if Google’s software could handle it.Soltero, who leads G Suite, Google’s set of productivity tools, called his technical staff. “Is this even something we can do?” he recalled thinking. Several sleepless days and nights later, millions of Italian kids were learning from home through Google services.As the month wore on, Soltero’s division faced similar surges in country after country. Schools and universities across the globe have rushed online as the coronavirus shut down public life. Many turned to the world’s largest internet company.“We have seen incredible growth,” Soltero said in a recent interview. “It actually mirrors, unfortunately, the ramp up and spread of the disease.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google has jumped ahead of its big technology peers in the education market in recent years by giving away software and aggressively courting teachers. The pandemic is entrenching the tech giant even further. Google Classroom, a free service teachers use to send out assignments and communicate with students, has doubled active users to… Read full this story
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