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Google WiFi, Take Two

The New York Times has a lengthy piece on Google, its desktop search efforts and what it might do with $4 billion and change it plans to raise in a secondary offering. The article, is an interesting look into Google’s plans, but here is how it intersects with my piece in Business 2.0, the GoogleNet. As I had reported earlier, the company has been in close contact with San Francisco city officials about a WiFi network. The Times confirmed that, though giving Business 2.0 credit would be a bit too much to expect.

> Recently the company has discussed public Wi-Fi networks with Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who is leading an effort to develop a city-backed wireless data network infrastructure. The idea that Google might try to build an independent national Wi-Fi network has been discussed, but network industry specialists say that such an idea is far-fetched. “Why would they want to get into the customer service business?” said Michael J. Kleeman, a telecommunications industry expert who was chief technology officer for Cometa Networks, which undertook an earlier national Wi-Fi network effort. He noted that two-thirds of the costs involved in such retail businesses are in customer acquisition and support. “When was the last time you called Google with a problem?” he said.

Mr. Kleeman hasn’t read my story. He thinks Google is building a retail WiFi business. That is Times/Kleeman’s interpertation. My story talks about a free WiFi service, not a retail operation. In a situation where you are giving away WiFi for free, the customer service business aspect doesn’t even come into play. When you pay, that’s when you expect customer service. That’s just obvious!

8 Responses to “Google WiFi, Take Two”

  1. I think the implications here might be way bigger than we’re thinking.

    Looking way into the future it’s not inconceivable that we could all be connected to one another using Google Apps, on a Google Device, over a Google wireless network. That sounds a bit like Teilhard de Chardin’s Noosphere.

    From “We are going to try to be the first in the world to connect everyone to everyone”
    Georges Harik, Google

    When Google buys a brain implant business it will get really interesting.

  2. Could this be the first big step by Google towards a web-based OS? This might be a long shot but here is my reasoning…

    One of the major hurdles for web-based OSes is the QoS. If a company can gaurantee a particular level of QoS I do not see why web-based OS is not feasible. With Google being the ISP they can easily gaurantee this (assuming that in the next 4-5 years wireless technology can provide a reliable QoS model).

  3. Well done Om. I think you deserve full credit for that story and this analysis of The Times story…. Its becoming obvious that Google is going to be coming out with something big (and surprising) in the next year or so…. I would bet my money on the lines you are thinking though (not the space elevator!!)