Last year, on August 1st, I emailed you guys my thoughts about Google Fiber:
Google’s Fiber “Proof of Concept” Is Anything But
In that piece I wrote, “Mark my words: Google Fiber is not a test, it’s a takeover plan.”
Last week, Google announced its second Fiber city: Austin. Yes, the nerd/hipster home of SXSW will get fiber in a move clearly designed to blow every techie’s mind at SXSW 2014.
This week, Google announced that it had bought fiber provider iProvo to launch a third city: Provo, UT.
They just tripled their cities in 10 days.
‘Noogle’ — the new Google since Larry Page took over as CEO — is all about moonshots. Google can’t shut up about moonshots in fact, with Steven Levy winning an interview with Larry for WIRED with the title ‘Why moonshots matter.’
In 10 short months, 30k+ tech, film and music nerds could be walking around Austin hearing locals brag about their free 5-megabit download connections (and 1 gigabit up/down connections that cost $70 a month.)
More importantly, every Google Fiber home will have a public Wifi component. In order to get Google Fiber, you’re going to have to agree to put a router in that lets anyone use a portion of your bandwidth.
That’s not announced, but it’s gonna happen.
In a dense city, this means the ‘Google Guest’ wifi network that we all use on Google’s campuses will be, well, everywhere.
The concept of paying ANYTHING for basic wifi will be as confusing to our kids as paying $2.95 for an hour of online access is to us.
Let me say that again so it’s clear: Google Fiber is also a takeover plan to provide free, high-speed wifi in every city.
Google is going to kill AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and the cable companies. Kids don’t talk on the phone and they don’t have a ton of money. If they can be reasonably sure they’ll have a wifi network, then they are simply not going to sign up for AT&T or Verizon.
It’s game over… in five short years.
Seem far fetched? The signals are hiding in plain sight:
1. Google investing in Fon in ’06; Fon essentially turned every wifi router into a hot spot
[ http://gigaom.com/2006/02/05/google-skype-fund-fon/ ]
2. Google provided free wifi on Virgin America back in ’09
[ http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/flying-in-wifi-wonderland-free-internet.html ]
3. Google Play sponsored free wifi via Boingo in Sept last year
[ http://www.boingo.com/pr/articles/?a=2012-09-11-free-boingo-wi-fi-at-locations-across-the-country-sponsored-by-google-play&id=671&date=2012-09-11 ]
4. Google bid to provide free wifi in San Francisco way back in ’05.
[ http://gigaom.com/2005/09/30/google-confirms-san-francisco-wifi-plans/ ]
Of all the Google projects underway right now — from Google Glass to self-driving cars — the most important is Google Fiber.
If you ask 100 people which product they would want most — fiber w/ free wifi, a self-driving car or Google Glasses — you’re going to have the vast, VAST majority take the Fiber with free wifi. When it comes down to buying a product — not just saying you will buy a product — 98% will go fiber.
The most amazing part of this is what it will do for Google’s ‘Big Three’ products: YouTube, Android and search advertising.
If you have free wifi and fiber everywhere, your consumption of video is going to skyrocket on mobile and at home. You’ll also do more searches and buy more tablets and phones.
What this means is that Google could actually lower the prices of Fiber over time and see its profits increase.
Over the past five years, Google has slowly shifted search from 10 blue links to actual content. Google believes it has FAILED if they send you to an external website from their search engine today. When you type in a sports score, local business movie time, flight, bio, word definition or video, you get that content presented on Google’s search results page.
Google is a content company, a software company, a hardware company and soon an access company. They are unstoppable.
They are competing heads up with HBO and Yelp, Verizon and AT&T, Samsung and HTC, Microsoft and Apple and soon Toyota and Tesla.
Oh yeah, they own your browser and email too. And they are easily going to spend over $1B to get your social profile!
Google has won it all, and Larry & co did it all by having the best advertising network/machine ever created. They never talk about that ad network, and VCs still believe there is no business in advertising.
Google. Wins. Everything.
And a couple of important points about *how* they won everything:
a) they figured out how to do it without pissing off the regulators too much (US cleared them, EU love-tapped their tushie).
b) they neutered the net neutrality debate
c) they somehow managed to convince most content companies that their 30-45% advertising tax was a good idea. Some are now siding with Nick Denton of Gawker, who has long felt that ad networks are leeches and you shouldn’t enable them — instead you should build your own relationship with them.
Oh yeah, we just finished ‘Noogle Year One.’ Can you imagine what Noogle will look like 10 years into Larry?