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Google to Offer Free Wi-Fi? 419

meaning writes "Business 2.0 reports on the possibility of Google building a national broadband network and giving Wi-Fi access to everyone in America. From the article: 'So once the GoogleNet is built, how would consumers connect for free access? One of the cheapest ways would be for Google to blanket major cities with Wi-Fi, and evidence gathered by Business 2.0 suggests that the company may be trying to do just that. In April it launched a Google-sponsored Wi-Fi hotspot in San Francisco's Union Square shopping district, built by a local startup called Feeva. Feeva is reportedly readying more free hotspots in California, Florida, New York, and Washington, and it's possible that Google may be involved.'"
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Google to Offer Free Wi-Fi?

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  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:39PM (#13326972)
    ...then I don't know what will.
  • Now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JonN ( 895435 ) * on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:40PM (#13326975) Homepage
    these are the real times we will all need a tinfoil hat. Who knows how Google will broadcast ads using a nationwide network of Wi-Fi
    • Re:Now (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:12PM (#13327168)
      The displaying of ads while surfing are the least of your tinfoil problems if you are using someone else's free wifi.

      They are already building business listing databases and reviews via Dodgeball, they are building HUGE databases based on your e-mail with GMail, and I can only imagine what databases they could build w/free wifi.
    • Re:Now (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ImaLamer ( 260199 )
      Well, they could offer their own browser [], add-ons [], web-apps [], information services [], or even desktop applications [] and make their name ubiquitous. Hell, then step in and give everyone free (as in public utility) internet service. Once they know your name and see the big colorful sign saying that 'internets' are free and customers would die for that company...
  • Next up (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:40PM (#13326979)
    Google to colonize Mars!

    Google to build moon base!

    Google to cure cancer!!!! OMG!!!

    I'll believe it when I see it.
    • Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) * on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:49PM (#13327038) Journal
      First it was VoIP, then it was IM, now it's Wi-Fi? Why does the news media keep reporting these *completely* unsubstantiated rumors about Google as if they were actually news? Why not wait until Google actually announces what it is going to do? It's not as if there won't be an interminable beta period between announcement and public release anyway. This rampant Google speculation that has gripped the tech media has moved past the "annoying" phase to the "just plain stupid" phase.
      • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarthTaco ( 687646 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:16PM (#13327186)
        It's a stock market thing. Buy a bunch of google stock (if you can afford much), and start a rumor that google is curing cancer. Take your 5% and do it again next week.
        • It's a stock market thing. Buy a bunch of google stock (if you can afford much), and start a rumor that google is curing cancer. Take your 5% and do it again next week.

          Google is curing cancer.

          I need to post this on /. so the mindless Google slaves will do my bidding...I mean spread the Google News, I mean good news.



          Sponsored Links

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      • Re:Seriously (Score:3, Insightful)

        by krunk4ever ( 856261 )
        it's because if they predicted right, they'd be able to say:
        *insert nelson's laugh* told you so
      • Why does the news media keep reporting these *completely* unsubstantiated rumors about Google as if they were actually news? Why not wait until Google actually announces what it is going to do?

        Are you completely certain they're false? It's common in politics for people to deliberately leak what they're thinking of doing just to test public opinion about a controversial idea in a deniable way.

        It's also possible that the occasional idea is leaked by an employee or ex-employee who doesn't like the propo

  • I wonder if it will be 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0? Hah.
  • by MrNonchalant ( 767683 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:43PM (#13326996)
    Next Google will take over horse farming. And give us all ponies!

    Seriously people.
  • by learn fast ( 824724 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:45PM (#13327005)
    Prepare to toil in our underground sugar caves! Remarkably clean, usable, state-of-the-art sugar caves, but toil you shall!
  • Pricey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shinyplasticbag ( 670882 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:46PM (#13327010) Homepage
    Based on how much difficulty people have had trying to blanket even smallish cities, I have no idea how Google could possibly cover a country the size of America with WiFi. How many thousands of hotspots would it take?

    What they should do is bring back Ricochet...
    • Re:Pricey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:21PM (#13327220) Homepage Journal
      The thing that bugs me is the entitlement mentality that some have about this. If it is "WiFi" then it should be free. I too would like to know how it can be paid for if no fee is charged especially given the high cost of infrastructure.

      Sure, free wireless works OK for coffee shops or restraunts here and there, as an incentive to get people to buy, but that is very small coverage and seems to encourage excessive loitering which is detrimental to business if they have too many people taking up tables several hours each during peak times.
      • Re:Pricey? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:32PM (#13327608) Journal

        The thing that bugs me is the entitlement mentality that some have about this. If it is "WiFi" then it should be free.

        I think the mentality is that if it's the internet then it should be free. This is due to the fact that that's how the internet was designed. Of course, free in this sense means that there aren't any payments between peers in the system. When MIT connected to Harvard neither of them paid each other for the privilege, but they both had to share the cost of the wires.

        Now with WiFi there are no wires. There's still a cost, since it takes energy to broadcast a signal, but we still call it "free".

        • For sure, I think we're back down to "what does free mean?" - an agreed free exchange of data over a network, where each peer pays for their part of the infrastructure, and agrees to pay for their share of the communal infrastructure, perhaps?

          If it's free as in free beer, does that mean you will give me an antenna, an AP, a laptop with a wireless card so it's free to me? probably not. You'll ask me to pay for my kit, pay for a share towards the central infrastructure (backhaul costs, your server etc), and

      • Re:Pricey? (Score:3, Interesting)

        When people say "free" here they don't mean "something for nothing" -- they mean "something paid for in aggregate".

        Like electric light. When you walk through Union Square at night you don't have to put quarters into little meter-boxes as you walk along, to make the streetlights turn on. When you go into a cafe you don't expect to be charged separately for the plumbing or the lights. These costs are built into the taxes (in public places) or the cost of the food/coffee/etc (in a private establishment)

      • Re:Pricey? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by macemoneta ( 154740 )
        I too would like to know how it can be paid for if no fee is charged especially given the high cost of infrastructure.

        You mean like the free air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter that folks expect when they go into any commercial building? Or the electricity? Or adequate lighting? Or the water fountains? Or bathrooms? Or garbage cans? Or escalators/elevators?

        All these things have an enormous infrastructure cost (as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs), and were once consi

    • Re:Pricey? (Score:5, Funny)

      by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:25PM (#13327239) Journal
      How many thousands of hotspots would it take? The impedance of the Earth (according to the Tesla mailing list, is 400uf. All google has to do is design, patent and build the first 802.400uf (oh yeah, write the 802.400uf standard) transmitter and connect it to the Earth ... oh and figure out where one would ground that to. Anyway, google will surely turn the Earth into a giant WiFi hotspot. Then in Q2 2006 they will wipe out disease. Finally, in August 2007 googlenet becomes self aware...
      • The impedance of the Earth (according to the Tesla mailing list, is 400uf.

        When did the Tesla mailing list decide that inductance should be specified in farads instead of henries? I'm pretty sure Nicola would not approve...

      • Well, the network of tethered Google Blimps(tm) will provide an easy way to circumvent the limitations of Earth's curvature.

        Really people. It's almost as if you believe that they haven't thought this through!

    • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:42PM (#13327328) Journal
      You have to put up so many access points to cover even an average sized office building, nevermind a whole city. You'd practically have to deploy one on top of every street light or telephone pole, and even then it wouldn't cover everything.

      Unless, of course, they got a license to use high gain antennas and transmitters, which they wouldn't because Verizon and Friends (c) would cry.

      To cover anything but the top 8 big cities would take hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of WiFi access points.

      New long-distance wireless tech shows some promise, but we'll see how well it works and if anyone deploys it. In my opinion, until any broadband technology starts to reach into the rural areas, it's not successful. NYC and San Fran already have so many broadband options that adding one more doesn't even count.

      Plus, this whole article is silly anyways. Just because Google sponsers a hotspot doesn't mean they are planning on deploying WiFi on a wide scale.
  • by ltwally ( 313043 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:47PM (#13327017) Homepage Journal
    Lately there have been so many newly announced (and shortly there-after: denounced) rumours concerning Google, I'm proposing that Slashdot create a new category just for Google related rumours.

    Seriously... are there people out there that have nothing better to do than speculate as to what new thing will come out of google's labs next?

    And people say that I need to get a life...
  • by ReformedExCon ( 897248 ) <> on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:47PM (#13327020)
    The first and most obvious question is how Google would manage to support a huge wireless network without charging for service. Perhaps they'd sell ad space and coffee near the hubs?

    The second question I had was how much damage such a network would do to existing local internet companies. If Google moves in and essentially gives their product away, how can the current ISPs cope?

    As a user, I'd be glad to have reliable, free wireless service available. A country where the service was ubiquitous, much like the electrical system and water system, would be a dream (probably the network administrator's worst nightmare, though).
    • As a user, I'd be glad to have reliable, free wireless service available. A country where the service was ubiquitous, much like the electrical system and water system, would be a dream (probably the network administrator's worst nightmare, though).

      Neither electrical service nor the water system are free (nor are they really ubiquitious). Why would you expect wireless internet service to be so?
    • is completely ignorant of the 'free market' theory (but then, so are all politicians)

      if someone offers a better product, or better price, the original company should wither and die.
  • I hope this happens. Google rocks.

    Once they get big enough, I hope they will overthrow the governments of the world.

    When they do, they will make it simple, basic, and easy to use. In addition they will offer free healthy lunches daily, plenty of fun activities, free healthcare and dental onsite, free gym access, a free gmail account, and the best ever... a Microsoft-free world. Whoops, I spilled the news about their secret G-OS
  • What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:49PM (#13327046) Journal
    The first few lines of the article:

    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?

    And it doesn't sound like the author hasn't any further proofs or even rumors.

    What if Google wanted to install cameras all over the world and call itself Big Google henceforth? What if Google launched a Mars mission and secured themself exclusive rights for the whole planet? What if they bought Blizzard and released the MMORPG World of Google where virtual elves can search a virtual Azeroth-Net for magic potions?

    What if Google didn't anything that would cost more than their market capitalisation, instead concentrated on remaining a search engine with new searches for kitchensinks and lost pets and perhaps a cooperation agreement with some other companies (Apple, publishers for their library project, etc) along the way? Or is that last one too far-fetched?

  • Makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bloggins02 ( 468782 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:50PM (#13327050)
    For those wondering how offering Free WiFi could possibly make sense from a business perspective:

    From TFA: Google could stand to save millions of dollars by having an end to end network of its own instead of carrying its traffic over major ISPs (TFA states that Google is also buying up dark fiber).

    Now, there are also some interesting ways Google might earn revenue from this system:

    1) Imagine having to view a short ad before full access is granted

    2) Imagine a special browser or access program you would need to download before use. The program could show ad words content or other ads

    3) Of course, there's always "Get 24 hrs DOUBLE THE SPEED for only $9.99!"

    Anybody have any other ideas for how Google could generate revenue from this?
    • 1) and 2) didn't work for NetZero or any of the other dot bombs. Why would it work for Google?

      Besides, Google tries to be non-obtrusive with its advertising. Most likely if they ever implemented this they'd make their revenue by increasing their reach in the services they already provide. What that also means is that service will probably be crippled to some extent. Free web browsing through a proxy, maybe, but I doubt you'll be able to use Kazaa (or whatever the current P2P app is, I haven't been foll

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) *
      Imagine having to view a short ad before full access is granted

      No need. Google's existing ad system is a cash cow already. Getting more people online means more people stumbling across their ads means more $, and if there's a direct path from their ad servers to the enduser, so much the better.

      They could make those ads a bit more targeted with an authentication system. Login with your GMail account before proceeding? Would you like to do a Google search while you're at it? Maybe make the bandwidth limi
    • 4) You piss on a Urine powered battery, supplying the GoogleGrid with power, which it resells to California.
  • Getting worried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:51PM (#13327055) Homepage
    I like Google. Excellent search engine, great news aggregator, webmail done right. But I'm getting more than a little uncofortable about the reach of the company. I have been cutting them a good deal of slack, but I'm gradually coming around on that. They have enough data on me and my habits that they probably can map my relationships better than I can myself. They can know my interests, my taste, my foibles, probably what I'm working on, and the only thing standing between potential knowledge and actual mining of it is a non-binding, pretty vacuous "Don't be evil" statement.

    And while free Wifi is great and all, that risks becoming another chokepoint - who will be able to compete in practice if the lazy, easy way is to connect to Google Wifi to access your Gmail account and get the latest news in the Google aggregator or perhaps do some comparison shopping with Google. And finding the store is easy - just click the Google maps link and you'll see exactly where it's at.

    If the company ever does decide to be evil, they have a huge amount of subtle control over their users at their disposal.

    Oligopolies or monopolies are bad, no matter who is holding it.
    • I always find myself thinking that there's a little 1-pt font trailer on that message that says "until we decide otherwise"
    • If the information is out there, someone will do it.

      To satisfy your paranoia, might I suggest 1) Working on a cash only basis, 2) Spending only cash, 3) Never sign anything, 4) Never own anything and 5) Live off the land.

      Welcome to the digital age.
    • Re:Getting worried (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pthisis ( 27352 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:19PM (#13327205) Homepage Journal
      IMO, once google went public then "Don't be evil" lost all value. As a private company, you can have goals like that. As a public company, you can wind up in court (and your officers in jail) if you aren't acting to maximize shareholder value.

      Now, I don't think they're evil. In fact, I think they're a pretty good business at serving my needs. But when it gets down to it, they're just a business.
      • Re:Getting worried (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Surt ( 22457 )
        Actually, all they need is a good faith belief that do no evil maximizes shareholder value in the long run. Which conceivably it does.
      • Re:Getting worried (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 )
        As a public company, you can wind up in court (and your officers in jail) if you aren't acting to maximize shareholder value.

        add to the above "while not breaking the law and behaving as a responsible member of society", a small detail many boards of directors forget in their quest to dupe- uhh convince - the shareholder that their stock is worth what they paid for it.

        Funnily enough the shareholders have more control over the stock price than the actual corporation
      • Re:Getting worried (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheZax ( 641389 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:20PM (#13327538) Journal

        IMO, once google went public then "Don't be evil" lost all value...
        ...As a public company, you can wind up in court (and your officers in jail) if you aren't acting to maximize shareholder value.

        I see this line about shareholder value thrown around quite often. While it might be the law, we have a hard enough time trying to throw the officers in jail that are truly evil . So, I don't see this law really having any impact on people's actions...
    • Why couldn't the motto have been

      "Be Good."

    • Excellent search engine

      It's an appalling search engine. But it's better than the competition.

      Searching on the internet for anything meaningful (and I mean academic searches with sources and references) is almost useless and involves a lot of time wasted, but this is not Google's fault. It's the fault of information providers who classify their information incorrectly, or abusers who take advantage of the system to make their site appear to contain the information
  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:57PM (#13327086)
    This is what I've been waiting for: private companies providing free access instead of tax payers paying for it.

    Capitalism does work!

  • Brilliant Strategy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    By supporting a variety of products and exploring countless different potential businesses, Google keeps its core nebulous. Anything is a potential target for Google to diversify into. This gets them a lot of free coverage for products they may or may not even be associated with, but the "Gee-Whiz" factor is still there.

    Whether or not its an actual strategy per se, or pleasant happenstance, I don't know, but it's done damn well in either case.

  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @09:59PM (#13327099) Homepage Journal
    Wifi access in NYC's Bryant Park [] is sponsored by Google. From the official park webpage:

    Special Thanks To
    The Bryant Park Wireless Network is proudly sponsored by Google.

  •,39020369,392132 95,00.htm []

    For those of you that were hoping to read more than some author's wild speculation here's real google news... They've suspended scanning books due to copyright issues. It sounds like they're giving everyone a chance to respond that has a copyright on whether or not they get their books included.
  • Google to offer free sandwhiches...

    Some pudgy guy was quoted as saying, "If google is doing it, I will eat it and I'm sure they will destroy the competition."

    Subway was unavailable for comment, but an anonymous source said they were on the verge of releasing a competing search engine to combat this new competitor in their own arena.

    The pudgy guy was no longer available for comment as he was stuffing his face with google sandwhiches.
  • Domination (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sergey - Skynet is fully functional.
    Larry - Time to take full control over the unwashed masses.
  • Let's look at this through what I like to call the Google Lens: nothing that Google does is mysterious, unexplainable, or even particularly charitable. They are a business, and they are interested in only two things in the pursuit of profit: (1) organizing and searching large quantities of information and (2) advertising. Nothing else.

    So where would this fit in? I'm not saying it wouldn't, or that they aren't planning something like this...I'm just saying that some derivation of this would have to inters
  • M$ will do something similar, very fast. Of late, I have noted that M$ has been playing "catch-up" on several fronts. Google could be in trouble since M$ is bigger and more present than Google in many markets. But I also know that being bigger does not necessarily mean better or even relevant.
  • TANSTAAFL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:32PM (#13327280)
    There's an old saying... The most expensive gift you can get someone is a Free Puppy.

    Similarly speaking... I'm not sure I can afford to get "Free" Wi-Fi access from Google.

    I'm just a whee bit tired of being innundated with advertising, and the cost of product purchases going up to pay for all of it. You know, I'd be willing to spend a little bit of money to just get the things I want and need, rather than paying for everybody else to get stuff they never asked for.

    • Incorrect. A puppy is expensive cause it is one extra creature to support, but getting internet access doesn't suddenly create extra mouth to feed. One thing you buy from those advertising can means one thing you -don't- buy from somewhere else. You just do the same thing differently. It doesn't necessary be more expensive, in fact, with more information, you will save money because you are better informed.
      Don't blame advertising blindly please. Just cause there are billions of spams doesn't means all adve
    • The most expensive gift you can get someone is a Free Puppy.

            Unless of course, it's a dead free puppy.

            It was starting to smell, too. Say thank you.
  • Google goes all this amazing stuff... it really does.

    Free Wi-Fi *tear* god bless you lil Google.

    Can daddy have his complimentary hookers and an 8-ball?
  • by miracle69 ( 34841 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:38PM (#13327312)
    And the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!!!
  • I could be wrong. ;)
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:43PM (#13327331) Homepage Journal
    In other news, a 14-year-old daytrader announced today that Google is giving out free blowjobs.

    Really, this kind of vapid rumormongering is tapping out all the useful wishful thinking that a real Bubble can harness to fund real companies. Indulging every possible fantasy just proves that we've learned nothing from the Bubble Pop, and very little from its inflation. Do we really need Jim Clark to run everything, just so some real engineers can just get paid for a few years?
  • Why do I RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:48PM (#13327365)
    Google has to pay as much as $60 per megabit in IP transit fees.
    How do we interpret this nonsense? Taken literally, it would mean that every 100KB mail you read on Gmail costs Google $60. Lol. The most likely interpretation, I suppose, is that Google pays $60 per month for every decicated 1Mbit per second between the Internet backbone and their servers. This would be a bit high for an individual and Google, with its immense purchasing power, must do better than that. Otoh, $60 per year for 1Mbit per second dedicated seems too low. Guess I should just follow standard ./ practice and ignore TFA: basing my understanding on the article's headline.
    • Re:Why do I RTFA? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zippthorne ( 748122 )
      It has occured to me: shouldn't it be the other way around? The nature of the internet as I understand it is thus:

      peers negotiate for links between each other
      big guys charge little guys for links
      little guys pay big guys for the privilage of access.

      Surely google by now is a pretty big player and further, what ISP could afford not to have a connection to <cue creepy voice>The Search Engine </cue>? They should be charging for people to hook up networks to their servers.
  • OMFG GUYS (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:49PM (#13327374)
    OHMYGOD I just heard that GOOGLE is about to come out with a new CPU ARCHITECTURE and it's going to run their own OS and it's so ungodly fast it's like a quad Xeon box but the basic model's only going to be like $500 or you can lease it for a year for the cost of having it shipped to you and it's so damn amazing and after they're done with that they're going to come out with their own distribution of Linux that will be a lot like Google's OS but faster and open source. Oh, and they're going to be giving away free cars in Central Park on September 4, so totally be there, and they're going to use the proceeds from all of this to bring back the dinosaurs - I swear to God! - and it's so cool because they're giving all this shit away for absolutely nothing but they're still making money hand over fist from it. Honestly, this is all true. They're like the coolest company in the world or something.
  • by NickCatal ( 865805 ) on Monday August 15, 2005 @10:57PM (#13327413)
    From what I understand, Google already pays next to nothing for transit. It seems like everybody peers with them anyways. If anything they are using the new dark fiber to link up their datacenters and for internal uses to ensure that they can get more data to the enduser with less hassles. Google Earth alone has to eat up an insane amount of bandwidth.
  • ...on Comcast's plan to Rule The World.
  • All right, all right, all right, what's it going to be? A new instant messenger for Christopher. A VoIP service for Otis. An Internet based OS for June Marie. And listen! Google's got a new one today. Free WiFi for everyone. Just watch out for the Billmicious Knid (and Grandpa...he kind of gives me the creeps...and while we're at it, so did that "freak-out" boat ride).
  • Com'on... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Unsus ( 901072 )
    The article is rather bad at proving anything. It is really just speculation -- poorly thought out speculation at that. Some of their facts seem wrong as well. $60 per megabit!? No way it could be that expensive. Also, saying Goggle will provide FREE Internet all across America is really presumptuous. They have a duty to their stockholders, you know...
  • Interference? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Elequin ( 137149 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @12:02AM (#13327741)
    I am, of course, assuming that they would use 802.11.

    How would they get around the problem of interference? I work for a small wireless ISP, and we have enough problems with interference in very small towns. I can't imagine dealing with the amount of interference in a large city.

    Of course, I don't know how Ricochet was able to do it using just unlicensed frequencies, so I guess with enough money and the right technology it could be done. However, didn't Ricochet use proprietary client hardware?
  • by Fortyseven ( 240736 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @12:05AM (#13327749) Homepage Journal []. Yes, it returns an error. But the host resolved, as opposed to, say, [].

  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @12:41AM (#13327906) Homepage
    I'm fairly certain they're reading the signs wrong here:

    Any WiFi involvment on google's part is most likely some sort of GoogleMaps-intergrated hotspot finder for finding other (free and 3rd-party-commercial) hotspots.

    On the other hand, TFA mentions google acquiring bits of dark fibre. IMO, this makes very little sense for building a WiFi ISP, as I would imagine that the fibre isn't exactly located in the sorts of places you'd want to put a hotspot. This could be some sort of project to connect their datacenters using private lines.

    On the other hand, this could simply be a capital investment on their part. It could be an attempt to spark some life into the dormant telecom markets. Sure, the fibre's cheap now, but the increased attention Google will get from this will drive up interest, thus driving up prices, allowing google to sell the lines at a nice profit.

    That said, AT&T left a heck of a lot of dark copper and fibre lying around. It'd be a shame to see it not put to use.
  • Ugh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:47AM (#13328160)

    So Google is kind of like if the Yellow Pages and the Phone Book were published under one cover with the one subsidizing the production costs of both.

    Whether or not they're making enough through ad sales to pay for the whole parade as it currently stands is questionable, but if you can convince enough investors that Google is worth pouring zillions of dollars into, then fine. Whatever.

    So basically, Google is sitting on a big pile of investor money at the moment, with perhaps a modest ad based revenue. However, Google has also hired a lot of programmers and project leaders and they're doing a lot of interesting and expensive stuff, which I suspect isn't quite covered by Google Ad revenue. The water leaking in is more than is being bailed out. Google right now sounds a lot to me like one of those tech-boom start-ups swimming in IPO cash.

    This means, I suspect, that expansion into new sources of revenue is probably fairly high on the To Do list around Google's board room at the moment.

    How they do this is up to them. I doubt somehow, though, that it involves 'free' microwave pollution to every corner of the U.S. --Though, doing that certainly sounds reminiscent of some of the dumb things those crazy tech companies tried back in 'The Day' when investors were insane and huge gobs of IPO cash were free to any who asked.

    I just hope they don't set up any microwave hot spots in my neighborhood. Cell phones are already a plague which I never agreed to.


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