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Google Businesses The Internet Communications Wireless Networking Hardware

Google Reveals Wireless Vision — Open Networks 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the optimizing-the-ethertubes dept.
Anti-Globalism writes with this excerpt from CNet: "Google's vision of tomorrow's wireless network is in stark contrast to how wireless operators do business today, setting the two sides on a possible collision course. Earlier this week, the search giant filed a patent application with the US Patent Office describing its vision of an open wireless network where smartphones aren't tied to any single cell phone network. In Google's open wireless world, phones and other wireless devices would search for the strongest, fastest connection at the most competitive price. Essentially, wireless operators' networks would be reduced to 'dumb pipes.'" The full patent application is available as well. Google founder Larry Page recently asked the FCC to free up portions of the broadcast spectrum for this purpose.
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Google Reveals Wireless Vision — Open Networks

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  • And the first thing they do after connecting, is of course, load up Google! I'm sure none of this surprises anyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It also wouldn't be suprising if Google will provide the "strongest, fastest connection at the most competitive price" themselves as they already showed interest in buying a spectrum of frequencies earlier.
      • by PitaBred (632671)

        They showed interest in bidding the spectrum up high enough that it would be open. They didn't actually care if they won it or not, they'd have used it if they did, if not, they were happy to let someone else do that work. That's not their core business. But having it open access, that IS what they care about, and that is why they bid it the way they did.

      • Google has no connection to provide to consumers.

        And none of the current crop of wireless carriers would find implementing this patent at all interesting, as they DON'T want to devalue themselves into being bit-carriers. They see themselves as both a necessary link between consumers and valuable information, as well as being able to provide all the information the consumer could want. Sure you might want to surf around reading things on the internets, but the carrier has everything you want to buy.

        Just lo

    • by strabes (1075839) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:05AM (#25177451)
      Like anyone uses any other search engine anyway... :)
      • "And the first thing they do after power on self test, is of course, load up Windows! I'm sure none of this surprises anyone."

        "Like anyone uses any other operating system anyway... :)"

    • by MadnessASAP (1052274) <madnessasap@gmail.com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:24AM (#25177557)

      So? My Homepage IS Google. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has it set to that.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:22AM (#25177201) Homepage Journal
    did they set up an organization or something ? already buying out lawmakers ? where do i donate ?

    im serious. there is no other way that people's will can be legislated, in current u.s. legal system. you have to BUY the laws.

    so tell me where do we donate. dont say EFF, im already donating there.
    • by jcwayne (995747) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:33AM (#25177277) Homepage

      You are not required to purchase laws. Think of them as optional services. Buy only what you need. The only required purchase is protection, just ask Microsoft. If they'd given more, sooner that whole anti-trust thing may never have happened.

      Any sufficiently advanced protection racket is indistinguishable from government.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        Wow, that Anti-Trust thing basically just said "Microsoft, you have a monopoly" and then Microsoft said, "So what are you going to do about it?". Really, other than a bit of money lost and a tad bit of bad press, it didn't do much to MS.
    • by daemonburrito (1026186) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:32AM (#25177603) Journal

      Me, too.

      I'm terrified by what is happening with the current major-telco/ISP system. From what I've seen in the past 20 years, a large enough chunk of humanity has the vulnerable-to-marketing gene that these people [slashdot.org] may likely get what they want: A second Great Firewall in the United States, just for the billions they want to make in commoditizing entertainment (that's what they mean when they refer to art as "content").

      It would be even more likely, if there wasn't a 1.5e11 dollar company in the way, headed by people who understand that being publicly traded doesn't mean you sacrifice ethics for shareholder return. AFAICT, they've stuck by their motto, and they understand how important these issues are for humankind.

      Yeah, I know, I've drunk the kool-aid, etc. Save it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kent Recal (714863)

        Agree'd. Also notice how there is surprisingly little google hating in the comments this time. Is it going out of fashion already?
        Admittedly it must be really hard for the google-haters to find something to whine about in this particular story... I guess we'll just see some "too good to be true"-rants and that's it.

        Back on topic: This would be a truly awesome move by google. Let's see if they can really pull it off, they'll have the whole telco industry against them. Talk about a game-changer!

        • by daemonburrito (1026186) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:29PM (#25177945) Journal

          I guess we'll just see some "too good to be true"-rants and that's it.

          Well, that and the whole patent thing. I'm of the opinion that patents and current IP law are a legacy system and it will eventually be unworkable, but we haven't quite evolved away from it yet.

          Maybe when everyone sees the benefits of having the sum of humankind's knowledge and expression available to anybody with cheap hardware; with everyone able to contribute in real-time, without the interference of commercial gatekeepers, we can ditch it. Of course, the trillions of dollars in productivity gained in the past 30-some years of computing and networking hasn't demonstrated the point to the vast majority of people, but it has to get through their thick skulls eventually.

          For now, I'll just say I'm picking my battles, and Google has earned my trust.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Raenex (947668)

        AFAICT, they've stuck by their motto, and they understand how important these issues are for humankind.

        Get real. First and foremost they care about their bottom line. Having an open network prevents ISPs from squeezing them. Sometimes Google's interests and the public's interests align. Great, I'm glad when it does. Just don't pretend that Google is some kind of saintly company. They've done plenty of wrong, and you'd be a fool to blindly trust them.

        • Not flaming you here, this is an honest question.

          Are you saying this for the specific case of Google, or are you saying this because you think that public companies can only act in the interest of profit?

          If it is the latter, are you saying that all companies only act in the interest of growth by nature of being a company, or are you saying that Google is compelled to act in the interest of growth (i.e., Google is compelled to perform an action that is good for growth and socially harmful, if that action is

          • by Raenex (947668)

            Are you saying this for the specific case of Google, or are you saying this because you think that public companies can only act in the interest of profit?

            I'm saying this in the specific case of Google, based on their actions, though it's the safest assumption to make of any company.

            If you are saying that Google is compelled by securities law to act badly, you're wrong, despite what the people with rolled-up sleeves say on CNBC.

            A lot of people on Slashdot say this too. What's your explanation for why they are wrong?

            • They are wrong because there isn't any law that states that. Shareholders can sue, but only for a pretty limited set of reasons, all of which fall under really serious malfeasance or gross incompetence by officers. You can't sue (and win against) Jerry Yang and the board for not selling to Microsoft, for example.

              I'm guessing you really want to know where the meme came from, and I couldn't say for sure (besides the CNBC stuff).

              I can tell you that securities litigation was a very large industry in the 1990s.

              • by Raenex (947668)

                Well, all very interesting, and I thank you for the Milberg & Weiss link, but what I'm still missing is what the law actually says. So for now I'll reserve judgment until I do some research.

  • Patent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:32AM (#25177265) Journal

    I sincerely hope this isn't all that's in the patent. I wrote about this model for wireless network access about a year ago, and when I was researching the article I came across people with the same idea ten years earlier, who cited even earlier people.

    The big step needed to make it happen is to prevent network operators from offering services. When the state licenses them the bandwidth, it should be on the understanding that they only operate the network, nothing else. Otherwise you get serious problems with competition. It is much cheaper for me to make a phone call than a VoIP call from my mobile phone, even though it's cheaper for the operator to route the VoIP call, because it's in their interests to charge more for bandwidth that can be used for competing services. If the network only provided bandwidth, as my ISP does, then it would be in their interests to allow as many services as possible to flourish, so they could charge me more for usage.

    • by Zarhan (415465)

      You aren't the only one. Heck, there's ton of research in the area - the whole 802.21 (and tech-specific adaptations, such as 802.11u) is based on this, and this kind of stuff is mentioned in the specs as example applications.

    • by neurogeek (824576)

      I sincerely hope this isn't all that's in the patent. I wrote about this model for wireless network access about a year ago, and when I was researching the article I came across people with the same idea ten years earlier, who cited even earlier people.

      Could you please provide your references?

  • Dumb pipes? (Score:3, Funny)

    by jcwayne (995747) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:35AM (#25177295) Homepage

    Essentially, wireless operators' networks would be reduced to 'dumb tubes.'

    There, fixed that for you.

  • Wireless companies bid billions for these dumb pipes. What collision course? Access denied. End of collision!

  • When I hear about visions these days I am scared. Microsoft has visions and patents too. But thats all they have. Google seems to be becoming the next Microsoft.
  • by compumike (454538) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:58AM (#25177413) Homepage

    There seem to be some set of natural situations where monopolies essentially must exist due to physical constraints: frequency bands, roads, cable/electric, etc. But it seems to be that a logical principle is that whenever one of these monopolies must be assigned, this is one case where government intervention is warranted -- ensuring that services are decoupled/debundled to the maximum extent reasonable.

    For example, roads are a monopoly assigned by local governments to be built by various contractors, but it'd be crazy to imagine that only buildings built by said contractors would be allowed to lie along that road.

    I'm usually very against government intervention/regulation, but when these natural monopoly situations occur, that seems to be the point for some reasonable involvement.

    --
    Learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

    • I'm usually very against government intervention/regulation, but when these natural monopoly situations occur, that seems to be the point for some reasonable involvement.

      Yeah, my State's government is specifically limited to intervention in the case of monopolies, collusion, and fictitious capitalization [nh.gov]:

      Free and fair competition in the trades and industries is an inherent and essential right of t he people and should be protected against all monopolies and conspiracies which tend to hinder or destroy it. T

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:11AM (#25177483) Homepage Journal

    The FCC has been the culprit in resisting the growth of communications in the U.S. Because they are so slow to react to what consumers demand, we're sitting around STILL using bandwidth for antiquated technologies such as broadcast television and radio.

    For over a decade, research into software-based radios has continued at an amazing pace. Frequency hopping, which allows the software radios to discover the best frequency to utilize at a given moment, allows the transmission tower and transceiving device to negotiate noise, power needs and transmission speeds almost real time.

    I find it crazy that people think we still need to designate frequencies for everything. One-way transmissions (radio, TV) use a ton of space that is seeing demand drop, significantly.

    Can you imagine the amount of bandwidth that would be available if the FCC would just step back and let the consumer-producer market find the most efficient solution for wireless data needs? I believe we have a decent amount of proof that unlicensed bandwidth works well: WiFi, cordless phones, and a myriad of other technologies that work well together, but haven't had the chance to be pushed to the limit due to the limited amount of unlicensed bandwidth.

    Google is right in wanting there to be a relatively open source process for utilizing available frequencies. I foresee an amazing leap in connectivity, a huge drop is pricing, and a roll out of services across the country that would leapfrog the U.S. to the head of the game again. If only the FCC would step back from their role of monopoly-regulator and possibly only be the organization that lays down the law against individuals or companies who are corrupting the open bandwidth with frequency noise or other clutter. As an anarcho-capitalist, I of course abhor the idea of the FCC doing anything, but I would accept them if they just monitored for those introducing chaos into the unlicensed spectrum if it was opened to an even larger set of frequencies.

    Video broadcasts, audio broadcasts, two way communications and more could all share this open spectrum beautifully, with less power usage and more speed available based on the needs of each device at any given moment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ironchew (1069966)

      Can you imagine the amount of bandwidth that would be available if the FCC would just step back and let the consumer-producer market find the most efficient solution for wireless data needs?

      Yes, and as somebody with an interest in amateur radio, I can say it would be noisy. Consumerism always demands more.

    • I believe we have a decent amount of proof that unlicensed bandwidth works well: WiFi, cordless phones, and a myriad of other technologies [....]

      Unlicensed bandwidth works great for very low power devices where you normally have the same person in charge of both ends of the connection. My wifi basically covers my house, and only causes moderate interference to one house-width on each side of me. With a dozen channels to hop between, things work out OK. If you scan wireless networks, you'll see 2 or 3 in a suburban setting, or 7 or 8 in an apartment complex... Low enough that there's not much incentive for aggressive competition over bandwidth, a

    • Frequency hopping, which allows the software radios to discover the best frequency to utilize at a given moment, allows the transmission tower and transceiving device to negotiate noise, power needs and transmission speeds almost real time.

      Isn't that inefficient for one-to-many broadcasting?

  • by Geak (790376)
    If someone sends an internet to my cellphone I'm going to duck.
  • patent? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:32AM (#25177601)

    Why is this patentable? People in Europe routinely use cell phones with multiple connectivity options. There are WiFi/3G phones and dual SIM card phones. You can use wireless carriers, callbacks, long distance dial-in, or VoIP over WiFi or 3G. And phones have some logic to pick cheaper combinations. If you really push it, you can manage to get two SIM cards and WiFi into the same phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jcmb (936098)
      The method of switching to networks is what they are trying to patent. i.e. The method that a phone would use to select the best and cheapest network to connect to.
    • by icepick72 (834363)
      Because if you don't patent it first, no matter how dumb the patent seems, then somebody else will and you'll be up shit creek.
  • nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by doti (966971) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:34AM (#25177609) Homepage

    Google is officially my preferred evil overlord.

    • by jcwayne (995747)

      I hear their sharks are now equipped with broad spectrum, collision avoiding, frickin lasers!

  • by intrico (100334) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:35AM (#25177623) Homepage

    For those who don't know, Carterfone(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carterfone) was an extremely important 1968 FCC decision that obsoleted the phone company model of requiring you to lease a device from them to connect to their networks. The passing of this decision is what gives landline users to this day the freedom to connect whatever device they want to their landline.

    Skype petitioned the FCC in 2007 arguing (rightfully so) that the FCC should make the Carterfone rules apply to wireless networks. The FCC chairman Kevin Martin (a member of the business-friendly/consumer-un-friendly Bush Administration) turned it down last year, with a very weak argument basically saying, "Such a move would be premature". Obviously, that translates to, "The wireless companies would like to protect their business model and we don't want to piss them off".

    We can fully expect the wireless companies to fight tooth-and-nail against any promotion of truly open networks by companies like Google.

    • I'd assume the feds will fight this tooth and nail also. It'd make tapping phone lines harder so they'd be against it.

      Take a look at what they did with CALEA [wikipedia.org] to effectively make open Wifi a very scary proposition. They wouldn't want cell phones to be any less controlled.

  • Wireless vision. Wow. What will Google think of next? Wireless audio? Wireless scent?

    The future is now!

  • In the end telcos will be just a tube like company, similar to the light, gas and electricity utilities. The limits existing today are completely artificial.
  • by thewiz (24994) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @01:56PM (#25178415)

    Google Reveals Wireless Vision

    Wow, did anyone else read the title to mean Google had developed a way to make human eyeballs wireless?

    Damn, I need more coffee.

  • It's great that there's finally someone big enough, and with enough money to challenge the telco's. I bet they are going nuts at the thought of having to compete fairly based only on price, value and features. Whatever you might think of Google, they sure aren't afraid to take on the status quo and the 900 lb. gorillas when it suits them. I don't really care what Google's profit motives are here, if they can force this type of change and competition in a market famous for it's anti-customer behaviour and d
  • by neurogeek (824576) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @05:08PM (#25179667)
    This patent **application** was filed on March 19, 2007; it was just **published** on the 25th. At the present rate, it will be evaluated by USPTO in late 2009 or 2010.
  • If I buy a phone and a contract with say ATT, and I'm in a location in which Verizon is the strongest signal. How does Verizon get compensated for this? Are the expected to set up peering agreements with ATT or do they charge ATT for the right to allow ATT contracted phones to attach to Verizon's network?

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