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Google and Dark Fiber

Created: Wednesday, November 16th, 2005
17:51:39 UTC
Last modified: Wednesday, November 16th, 2005
17:52:39 UTC

Details pertaining to the 2005 Webmasters Conference in Vegas...

One of the funniest events was when I stopped by the Google booth. Google is the dog of the conference!! MSN gave us free Wi-Fi all over hte area (apparently they added stuff outside the conference center, as i'm connected to it right now, at 2 bars, about a 1/2 mile away) and an open bar for lunch. Yahoo actually provided us with breakast, lunch, and a fairly mediocre dinner (but an open bar!) What is Google doing? Well, they *are* giving us lunch but no one knows what; potentiallly some huge announcement is going to be made by them.

Oh..in Cringely's speech, he said Google was going to "win" because of their blackbox that you just "plug in" and it scans and indexes your entire corporate net. There's tons of talk about how Google is buying up all the "dark fiber" in the USA. Because of the utterly collasping ISP market, some 20-25% of all US fiber optics cable is sitting in the ground, unused. You know? The stuff that *SHOULD* be giving us all 100Mbps? Well, apparently some economists have speculated that, lo and behold, it would cost a mere 3 billion to buy up 25% of the US potential bandwidth and the buzz is that that's what Google's going to announce todya; well, part of it.

For the less informed, fibre optics runs on a completely different system than cable or DSL. It actually requires complex hardware to convert the stream into something usable by your computer. I asked Cringely in questions and answers phase if the XBox, which he pointed out MS was losing billions on, was a form of pre-emptive strike against the possibility of Google creating a similiar, less capable apparatus that would serve as a Fiber-Computer router...Cringely said, "My, that's a wonderful thought, young man." and proceeded to have me write down my info on a business card!!

The idea is that after Google buys the fiber, they would offer a sit-on-top box that would go either to your TV or computer (cable is the only mechanism capable of delivering near-fiber speeds) and it would offer you at minimum these benefits:
* Search *all* your desktops from one box and rank them just as google would; not as the half-ass google desktop does now
* Connect to any page on the internet — even if it is "down" — transparently, using the Google Cache (minus the noticeable headers)
* Browse the internet at 100Mbps down; for *FREE*

Now, the XBox 360 can be massively expanded in scope. I'm figuring that Microsoft has prepared for this in advance, and that when the day comes sometime in 2006 or 2007, MS will simply convert its xbox into the *same* thing, but it can also play games and DVDs :o

Needless to say, I believe the Google box would be *THE* most damning thing to ever happen. It would be the equivalent in every way except audio/visual of tele in 1984. That too could be arranged by the addition of a compulsory digital camera; you know? so you can make sure your house is safe from intruders.