So I have two draft posts about Google: “Google is Taking Over the World,” and “Google: Free ISP.” I never posted either of them because I thought they were both too out there.
Well la-dee-da, today I read on my Google Desktop 2 Deskbar a summary of this story from Cnet News.com: Google offers clues to its own Wi-Fi service. Very little is known about it, but it doesn’t sound like it will be free. But why not? Google bought out Keyhole, and now it’s the free Google Maps (which is sooooo much better on broadband, by the way). If Google were going to roll out any kind of ISP, wouldn’t it be Wi-Fi? There’s still a lot of tussle and bussle at the FCC about who gets to use what infrastructure when offering phone, tv, and Internet to consumers. Verizon now offers a wireless broadband service. Google would need to invest in some kind of infrastructure, but they wouldn’t need 100% coverage immediately. Verizon’s new service reaches 130 or 140 million people, depending on which sentence in the fine print you read. Google could put up some transmitters in San Francisco, DC, NYC, LA … whatever, and roll it out. Then add more as they go along. Or they could lease infrastructure from existing companies.
But hey — they could also buy AOL. How about RaodRunner, too? There are rumors that Microsoft wants to merge MSN with AOL, but Google doesn’t want to lose all its AOL business. So the new rumor is that Google might pre-emptively buy AOL to keep it out of Microsoft’s sandbox. Fun, huh?
This is really looking like the old Microsoft-vs-Netscape days, except that Google is entrenched in multiple markets, and Microsoft has no option comprable to throwing money at popular companies so they will produce IE-only websites. Google’s partner is the consumer — and the advertiser.