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Will GoogleNET Go National?

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GoogleNET will soon be expanding into different cities – that is if you believe Earthlink CEO Garry Betty.

Despite repeated and strong denials by the search giant, anecdotal evident suggests that Google has national ambitions for its WiFi network, aka GoogleNET. I had written about this for Business 2.0 last year, and have been tracking this story. What started off as a sponsorship of a hotspot in Union Square in San Francisco, was extended to Bryant Park in New York City, followed by citywide access in Mountain View, California, and then came mother of all wins: San Francisco.

Google and its ISP partner, Earthlink, are now looking to expand to other locales. Earthlink is betting the farm on its WiFi efforts, and has won bids to build such networks in Anaheim, California, Milpitas, and Philadelphia.

Dow Jones News Wires quotes Earthlink CEO Garry Betty as saying that while Google-Earthlink haven’t identified the next city they want to jointly target, they have plans to expand their hybrid model – paid service from Earthlink and ad-supported free access by Google – the discussions are on! Unlike San Francisco, it seems the two companies plan to tweak their model a little.

They would, however, offer all city residents and visitors free access to Google’s ad-supported local search service and to area Web sites, he said, using technology from Google that would restrict non-subscribers’ access. Google would share some of the ad revenue earned with EarthLink.

Of course there is a distinct possibility that Betty might be overstating a bit, after all, there have been no deals between the two companies that have been officially announced. I bet Google would be more inclined to partner with anyone as long as it brings in some ad-dollars to the company. Google recently filed for patents a technology that allows it to push highly targeted ads to wireless users, and then split the monies with the company offering the service.

According to the patent, which was filed in 2004 and published by the U.S. Patent Office in mid-March, the advertising can be refreshed and changed even when the user is not moving from Web page to Web page.

“I can’t wait for Wi-Fi everywhere. ” writes Chris Sacca, who has been championing Google’s WiFi efforts, on the Google Blog. Neither can we!

13 Responses to “Will GoogleNET Go National?”

  1. Dennis Evans

    ISP usually don’t provide infrastructure, instead wholesaling the dialup lines and concentration from telco. The WiFi installation, service, repair means bucket trucks and field technicans with test equipment. On call 24/7. The shear numbers of nodes mean equipment failures and ready spares and mobile tiny standby power. Techs who can use spectrum analysers and find intentional interfearence from off network sources and do what about it? [unlicensed shared frequencies].
    These techs don’t have to be BSEE but trained, and paid none the less, and supervised, and HRed.

    No repairs until it stops raining? Creates a ton of phone calls to City Hall. My cable modem [and 156 others on my node alone] went out for 12 hours and 8 minutes over the weekend due to a tornado at least every 6 months this happens.

    At least the free customers get the same service priority as the paid in a common box.

    In CATV you have 1 tech per 150 street miles and active devices are 1,000 feet apart.

    Infrastructure is not as easy as it appears, to do inexpensively. Off course one can increase the robustness at a cost…hot spare in node switching with battery backup and detailed remote diagnosis.

    Ever look inside a cell tower shed…the $200,000 installion.

  2. Marvin Sirbu

    In Mountain View, Google is the infrastructure provider, responsible for putting up the access points and maintaining the network. In SF, Google is one of multiple ISPs who will provide service over an open access infrastructure operated by Earthlink. I would not be surprised if Google chooses to be an ISP on other open access municipal networks built and operated by Earthlink or whomever–just as Yahoo has partnered with multiple DSL providers such as Verizon and AT&T. I don’t see Google getting into the infrastructure business beyond Mountain View.

  3. Well I would love for them to go nationwide.
    Simple imagine everything wireless.
    GPS on steroids.
    Internet or wifi cellphones = lower rates.
    I can use my laptop everywhere.
    Bye bye ugly telcos that make me spend more than I wish to.

  4. Dennis Evans

    And still we will have an even bigger digital divide, opt out for a fee or agree to watch more interactive [with questions to answer] commericals for faster downloads.

    Might not be a bad Idea to be able to bank watching ads while at work to build up the prepaid account.

    Ad serving by node targeted to individuals…big G will always know who and where you are every moment. As cellphones provide now.

  5. I am not too excited about this. The concept is very similar to one of the companies that existed durign DotCom boom. I forget the name. It would pay you to view adds on a deskbar while you were surfing. Anyway, Indian Mobile operators had tested an innoavtive idea. Targetted SMS marketing. Say I am on shopping spree in Bangalore. Depending on the data(my interests, etc…) they have compiled and my location M.G.Road, Commerical Street, I would be serevd targetted ads :-) It wasn’t 100% effective as sometimes I got Ads to buy jewllery ;-)