Nothing Off-Limits for Google as it (Possibly) Goes After Mobile Carriers

Is Google WiFi for real?Google has a long history of pushing innovation and change in a variety of markets. They have been experimenting with self-driving cars for years. The company pushed the advance of wearable computing with Google Glass. Recently, they redefined what it means to have broadband access with Google Fiber in select neighborhoods of Kansas City. Google has proved time and time again it isn’t afraid to take on the status quo and do things better. News from yesterday afternoon shows they are continuing this pattern.

Google’s Mysterious WiFi Network 

According to Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM, news broke yesterday about Google’s new WiFi plans when reporters discovered “an FCC application from Google requesting permission to test an experimental radio network.” The experiments are taking place at their headquarters on the Mountain View campus. What could Google be trying to accomplish? It could be the creation of a heterogeneous network combining WiFi and cell “into a single extremely flexible and high-bandwidth system.”

A network like this would change the way Americans use their mobile devices immensely. There are a few theories around the internet about what Google could be working towards. Some suggest, as Chloe Albanesius writes for PC Mag, that it could be a predecessor to allowing “free Wi-Fi hotspots to Google Fiber clients.” There were also reports that Google was working with Dish Network to provide new WiFi service to compete with AT&T and Verizon.

However, Don Reisinger at CNet claims that a knowledgeable source “has told CNET that the testing is just that.” That would be simply too boring for me! Google always has interesting ideas and plans, even if we don’t know about the details. They wouldn’t be testing something just for testing’s sake. There has to be a greater goal behind these mysterious WiFi tests.

What a Heterogeneous Network Could Do for eCommerce 

If a heterogeneous network is the goal of these recent tests by Google, the predictions from Google CEO Larry Page that I mentioned in my post from yesterday seem rather relevant. He said that “mobile may overtake desktop as a revenue generator for Google.” Hmm… A day later we have news about experimental WiFi technology!

Maybe I’m just connecting unrelated dots, but it does seem interesting. A heterogeneous network that provided high-speed cell and data service for a fraction of the cost that it runs customers today would open up mobile browsing and mobile commerce more than ever.

Everyone involved in business online knows that the shift to mobile is only going to increase. But for it to really take off and influence the way business is done online, people need a fast and reliable network. With a fast network, users can have an experience equivalent to the speeds and usability they have on a desktop. That means more interaction, more conversions, and more customers.

I’m certainly looking forward to any developments with this mysterious test network Google is going forward with. Although personally, I would prefer they spend all of their money spreading Google Fiber – specifically to where I live. Whatever they are cooking up at Mountain View, I hope it’s as impressive as Google Fiber was when it was announced.

What do you think Google is up to at Mountain View? Would you prefer a Google WiFi alternative?


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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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