Friday 23 September 2005

What's Google's next move in wireless?

Google's in a great position to take advantage of the many things it has going for it. As well as search, these include:

  • Location dependence—Google is now very good at geo-location, and directs you to a search cluster near you for performance. It can also show you geo-targeted ads, which will probably become more fine-grained in future.
  • Wi-Fi—it seems that Google is about to launch a public access Wi-Fi product, which it will also secure with a VPN offering: Google Secure Access. This should mean that security will be better on a Google Wi-Fi access point than with, say, T-Mobile. Speculation is that access will be free, and Google will generate revenue by mining contextual information as they do today with Google ads.
  • Bandwidth—Google seems to have been busy buying up insane amounts of "dark fiber" capacity in the US, which it'll need if it's going to offer free Wi-Fi!
As an example, combine these three factors with Froogle (Google's comparison shopping service). If you're out shopping in bricks and mortar stores, what if you could connect using your PDA over Google Wi-Fi for free, it knew where you were, and could show you the closest place to purchase what you're looking for?

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