39 Comments

Summary:

Business 2.0: What if Google (GOOG) wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a user’s precise location? The gatekeeper of the world’s information could become one of the globe’s biggest Internet providers and one […]

Business 2.0: What if Google (GOOG) wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a user’s precise location? The gatekeeper of the world’s information could become one of the globe’s biggest Internet providers and one of its most powerful ad sellers, basically supplanting telecoms in one fell swoop. Sounds crazy, but how might Google go about it? More…

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  1. I think this is a great idea. Wi-Fi is so key to making information readily available to anybody anywhere.

    I recently spoke with somebody who worked on the Sprint ION project, which was WAY ahead of its time. They built their infrastructure with very expensive pipes, so they have more bandwidth than anybody out there. Personally, this made me very excited because it’s good news for us in the greater Kansas City area. We’re talking about the types of download and upload speeds that could rival South Korea.

    Let’s hope they deliver solutions that incorporate this fat pipe in their next technology. The Digital Prairie has some life in it yet. :-)

  2. If I understand this correctly, Google is basically creating its own last mile access through use of wifi hot spots and an internet network transport system to feed its servers. Basically an infrasturcture play that enables content and applications at full ownership / low cost. Similar to the Robert Murdoch strategy on owning content + pipe.

  3. Excellent piece, Om. Location based advertising services will certainly become very attractive.

  4. They can throw in Wimax or Flarion WBB and take out more coverage.

  5. So Google is the next CARRIER based on advertising revenue, so that subscribers get free access. A la, the TV model.

    Wow, incredible.

    Thanks OM.

  6. GoogleNet — globally free WiFi

    Om has been breaking stories left and right. Here’s his latest, written for Business 2.0, entitled “Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet.” The story sounds plausible, though we haven’t confirmed anything ourselves: What if Google (GOOG) wanted to gi…

  7. Om,

    Is the date on your article (1900) some sort of inside joke, or just a bug?

  8. Also, Om, do you remember Winfire? I would be interested in hearing your memories of that failed national free DSL service.

  9. Location based advertising: YES (but in an unobtrusive way)!

    But blanket the world with WiFi? It is a LONG way from SF Union Square to the whole world. I would be rather surprised about that move being part of Google’s strategy.

  10. The Pre-Commerce Blog Monday, August 15, 2005

    Free Google WiFi + Location Based Ads = Probably

    Bars give out pretzels and peanuts because they make you thirsty. What do you do? Business 2.0 (via telecom wiz Om Malik is reporting that Google is putting the pieces together to offer free WiFi, at least in the major markets, and speculates that it i…

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