With all of its integrated applications — from the search engine, to its powerful maps, to email — many people are still not familiar with what might be Google's most important innovation yet. Fiber is shaping up to be another powerful and inventive service from Google, and it's potentially an internet game-changer.
In a nutshell, Google Fiber is an experimental, super fast, fiberoptic internet infrastucture. While most of us experience the internet through broadband cable services, Google is spending alot of money going from city to city to offer this game changing Gigabit Internet service. The most exciting feature is its ability to offer download and upload speeds at about 100 times greater than what the average person in the U.S. gets right now.
Google knows that it needs more than just web service to be competitive and make a splash. The 100x larger data pipe means that Google can offer enough bandwidth to deliver incredible HD TV content to your TV screens as well.
Every customer who signs up for Google Fiber with TV gets a free Google Nexus tablet to use as a remote. It also comes with a DVR box that lets users record as many as eight channels simultaneously, with two terabytes (two thousand gigabytes) of on-board memory. I can't even think of eight TV shows worth watching, but we'll worry about that later.
Depending on where you live, you're probably saddled with one mini-monopoly cable company. Time Warner, or RCN, or Comcast maybe? Probably less than decent service, data caps, and stagnant speeds. Google poses a direct challenge to cable networks through this incredibly pilot program for fiber in Kansas City, Missouri. Apart from raising consumer expectations, the Fiber service has forced dominant internet providers to respond by improving their speeds, prices and service.
It will take about $140 billion for Google to spread the fledgling Fiber service nationally, so Google has taken the city to city approach in rolling the service out. Fiber VP, Milo Medin says they launched its pilot in Kansas City becuase of "great infrastructure," which is code for "they were business friendly." The next planned cities are Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah, and these flagship cities are reportedly expediting Google's permits, providing public relations assistance, access to city facilities and taxpayer subsidies. The red carpet is not likely eveywhere, and states like California have more strict environmental regulations that Google must adhere to.
Think YouTube without buffering. How about instant downloads/transfers of large chunks of data between friends, between businesses? Instead of the still choppy connection for tele-conferencing that currently exists, think about the possibility of chatting with your physician in truly crisp high speed quality. Remote, networked, and distance learning could be taken to new heights.
Google is bundling its many core services with Fiber. Ample storage through Google Drive, super fast streaming video content from their ever improving YouTube. From mail to maps to music ... Google's integration strategy is comprehensive and beneficial for users.
Sort of. As an early experiment and new turf for Google, there have been reported glitches and small service disruptions. However, Google is learning as it goes, and Kansas City residents are reporting the joy of dumping their old service and satisfaction with the service.
From the high profile buzz around "Google Glass," to ownership of web media powerhouse, YouTube, to its flagship search engine service ... when Google enters a marketplace, it matters. Do you remember when Mapquest was the go-to site for driving directions, or when everyone had a Hotmail account? Yeah, me neither.