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03.26.07


Eight Ways To Google Network

By David A. Utter

A scenario we've suggested before comes back from time to time with new, circumstantial evidence it is going to happen; we're referring to the potential for a Google-operated wireless network, with Wi-Fi and maybe even phone service under their banner.

Spring is the time when a young geek's fancy (and maybe an older geek's too) turns to pleasant thoughts of better Internet services. Google has been the subject of so much scrutiny here, self-inflicted to be certain, that wondering about when a Google Network might go live has become a rite of passage.

The folks at Daily Wireless took a crack at divining the signs from Google, and interpreting these with an end result in mind, a national Google wireless network.

Dark fiber purchases, investments in broadband over power lines, experimenting with Wi-Fi in Mountain View while lobbying to provide the same service for free to San Francisco topped the four slots of the Daily Wireless octet of observations. Google has pieces of the equation, and is trying some of them out on a limited basis.

We'll quibble with their view of Google's opinions on net neutrality. Even though Google surely stands to lose out if the Ed Whitacres and Ivan Seidenbergs of the telecom world can drop by the Googleplex and say "this is a stickup," the search ad company has of late shifted its views slightly of the net neutrality debate.

Google's head of global public policy Andrew McLaughlin told a California conference that "Cutting the FCC out of the picture would be a smart move," as net neutrality "will ultimately be solved by competition in the long run."

Low Rate eCommerce & Retail Plans

Daily Wireless also made points about Google's VPN product used in its free Wi-Fi areas, the development of massive data centers that Google maybe doesn't need right now, and its continued expansion, robber baron-like, into horizontal and vertical technology spaces.

They all resonate as valid points, and help build the case for greater Google aspirations. Google has generally ignored these as rumors and speculation, so there's no harm tossing one more line out there.

Richard Koman at Silicon Valley Watcher picked out a passage from a podcast interview given by Eric Schmidt to iInnovate. Schmidt didn't care much for the assertion that Google was becoming a "content company" and said so:

You used the term content company. We don't use that term. Google is an infrastructure company that enables content. Google is not in the content business. We have many partners that produce content. We are a distribution mechanism and a monetization mechanism for our partners. This is an important line that we've decided not to cross.

One might make the counterpoint that providing a wireless network on a national scale, on top of building datacenters to scale applications to a point where Schmidt said competitors can't match them, could be seen as an infrastructure in the making.


About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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