Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Full Speed Ahead...But To Where?

FCC Approval -- Check

Well, Google got what it wanted. Yesterday the FCC voted to open up a hefty portion of airwaves to open access. Though the FCC did not succumb to Google's fourth demand, that the winner of the upcoming bandwidth auction be mandated to sell access to other providers at wholesale prices, the door has been opened enough, nonetheless, for Google to get its giant foot inside.

And who knows if that fourth demand was an actual requirement of their tightly-guarded business model for their plans for the future or simply a negotiation feint, a red herring? Why not demand a handful of things if all you really wanted was two or three things to expand your empire? So that way, the FCC can feel good about itself for having a spine and not giving in to ALL of the issues, yet Google still gets everything it needs for its Master Plan. Demand the moon, settle for Poland.

So what does Google lose by the results of the negotiation? Nothing. Not a thing. All the necessary pieces on the chessboard have survived intact and Google may now proceed forth a move at a time. With one-third of the bandwidth slated for open access, this means that Google has the freedom to prepare its configurations for implementation.

But where is it going? Well, let's look at some of its moves in the past and what resulted from those plays to be able to imagine what might be up their sleeve on this one.

Some Google Goobles --Check

In 2004, Google Goobled (gobbled up; acquired) Picasa and the result was free photo organizing software for its customers. It also Goobled Keyhole Corporation and Where 2 Technologies , digital mapping services, and Google Earth and Google Maps were born. Those, too, are free services.

In 2005, it Goobled 2Web Technologies and Google Spreadsheets was born. Then it Goobled Urchin Software which hatched Google Analytics. In 2006 Writely and @Last were Goobled resulting in Google Documents and Google Sketchup. The list goes on and on, but the pattern remains the same. Google buys companies, converts the strength of the company into a free program or service for consumers and then advertises to the users in some of those platforms. In other cases, it is simply creating a dependence on or at least an affinity for Google. Indeed I myself have used many of its offerings and enjoyed them richly.

However, Google has violated one of its own mottos which is to do one thing well. Google, in fact is trying to do all things, not one thing. And as long as it is offering all these as free services there is great popularity among the public. Is there any reason for us to expect that Google is suddenly going to change their modus operandi? Unlikely. If they stay true to form, what will their next move look like?

VoIP Cellphones -- Check Mate

You are probably aware that several years ago Google introduced Google Talk. With that service, integrated with your Gmail account, you can chat with someone in real time, sort of like an audio IM. It is easy and convenient. The sound quality is fantastic. The whole program is brilliant. And it is all done with VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol.

Now take that technology and hold it next to the recent Goobling of Grand Central Communications, a voice communications management company and what do you have? If you still are confounded, mix in a little open access bandwidth. Now you are getting the picture.

But the coup-de-grace in this is the final element: free cell phone service. Bring your cell phone to Google and they will give you free VoIP service. Check mate.

The FCC ruling may have been a small step for man, but it was a giant Googlestep for mankind. Beware.

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