In addition to Google Fiber, Google has been quietly spending a lot of time pushing Wi-Fi in a number of new locations around the country including San Franciso parks
. However, hometown locals have been complaining the company has been neglecting the health of the network that started it all: the Wi-Fi operation they launched near their Mountain View, California headquarters back in 2006.
While locals have always complained that the network has issues
(though hey, the broken connectivity was free, after all) it appears that the once shiny example of "Google the ISP" has been neglected to the point of disrepair
. Fortunately, Google and Mountain View have now struck a new deal
that will bring the struggling network back to life:
On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council enthusiastically approved a new five-year agreement that will see Google turn the downtown corridor into a free outdoor wireless hotspot. Council members also accepted a $500,000 grant from the Mountain View-based company to install and maintain Wi-Fi networks at the community center, library, teen center, senior center and Rengstorff Park. The agreement paves the way for Google to dismantle the existing wireless system that covers 80 to 90 percent of the city.
The new network will be quite a bit smaller but hey, at least it will actually work.
As we've recently noted
, Austin is starting to resemble the kind of competitive market most of us only dream about. Thanks to Google Fiber, AT&T is now planning to offer $70, 1 Gbps connections in the city -- recently joined by Grande Communications, who says they too will offer 1 Gbps lines for $65 a month
Google today announced that the company would be laying the groundwork to deploy Google Fiber to a number of additional cities -- though the effort appears to be more focused on helping those cities do it themselves. According to a Google blog post
, the company says they're working with thirty four different cities
in nine metro areas to help them understand how to make faster broadband a reality.
Reuters story continues..
was the first to report today that Google is preparing to cut their losses with their $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola in 2011
, and will soon sell Motorola Mobility and "certain patents" to Lenovo for around $3 billion. Reuters claims the deal could be officially announced as soon as tomorrow.
The government has reached a settlement with several of the nation's biggest Internet companies (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple) which had (to various degrees) to be able to reveal more information on how many data requests they receive from government. While the government has allowed increased disclosure on national security letters (NSLs, or gag letters), companies have been restricted to only stating a range of numbers of such letters they've received (see Verizon's recent transparency report
Google Fiber today announced they were opening up registration for their speedy 1 Gbps service in Provo, Utah. Pricing for services will be the same as previous launches ($70 for symmetrical 1 Gbps, $120 for 1 Gbps with TV, and 5 Mbps service for free for 7 years) with one exception: because of the pre-existing Veracity infrastructure there, the install fee for the free tier is just $30. story continues..
Google today announced that they're embedding data compression by default in their latest mobile Chrome update. According to a company blog post
, the compression is disabled by default, but when enabled promises bandwidth consumption savings of up to 50%.
While Google Fiber's sweetheart deals with cities
certainly aren't outside the realm of criticism, it's not as if cities aren't getting some perks out of the arrangement. As part of Google Fiber's deal with Austin, the city is to receive free, 1 Gbps connections at 100 locations for the next decade. The city just released a list of the locations they've selected
, which range from YMCAs to performing arts organizations.
Over at the Google Fiber blog
, Google notes that a listed location has to be in a "fiberhood" before it can get service, so the company is warning that it may be a little while before these listed locations get service:
"This whole process will take awhile — it will probably be over a year before we can even start making these Community Connections. But until then, we’re excited to get to know these organizations and hear about their plans for how they want to use their Fiber connection."
It's not clear if AT&T's 1 Gbps deployments in Austin
will come with any similar perks for the city.
, the nation's largest deployment of municipal broadband service, has been turning heads for a wave of non-disclosure agreements they've made the mayors of the network's 11 partner cities sign. According to the Standard Examiner
, the NDAs require that Utopia partners remain quiet about a "possible major new partner and project." That partner isn't named, but the story calls said partner an "Internet giant."
After Google acquired the Provo, Utah municipal network
for a song, obvious speculation leads to wondering if Google would be interested in acquiring Utopia as well and integrating the two networks.
It was rather clear that Google TV landed with a bit of a thud, though it was made clearer when Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca in 2012 stated their launch of the Google TV powered Revue was "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature," and that Google's product was a glorified beta
Now reports indicate that Google is working hard on the next chapter of this effort, a new TV set top that will fall under the Nexus brand.
Google's interest in Africa as a developing market with huge earnings potential has been exemplified by their White Space broadband experiments there
, though the search giant has turned up the speed a notch on the news they'll be deploying a significant amount number of fiber connections to African cities. According to the Google Blog
, the company's "Project Link
" initiative will begin with Google deploying fiber throughout the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
ISPs like Time Warner Cable and Comcast have tried to damper some of the enthusiasm surrounding Google Fiber by insisting repeatedly that nobody needs 1 Gbps speeds
. While on the surface such comments seem just plain unimaginative given the history of technology, they're intentionally designed to shift the overall conversation away from the sector's lack of competition and toward the idea that the often costly service incumbents are willing to provide is simply good enough
After being one of the only towns or cities to hold up Google Fiber because of liability concerns
, Overland Park this week appeared poised to do a 180 and approve the deal
, which city officials tell me remains identical to other deals in the region. Unfortunately for the city, locals who attended a town meeting Monday night informed me that instead of accepting the deal, Google stated
that their deployment to Overland Park was going to experience an "indefinite continuance."
While Overland Park is home to Sprint -- and local incumbent Time Warner Cable certainly has a history of scuttling competition using underhanded tactics
-- there has been no evidence that Overland Park's trepidation was anything other than the city looking out for its own best interests.
You might recall that Google Fiber took a lot of criticism back in July for language in their terms of service that technically bans servers. The criticism originated with a user who filed a complaint with the FCC
, claiming that Google's language aimed to prohibit Google Fiber users from doing commonplace things like running Minecraft servers or using Slingboxes.
As noted at the time
, the hysteria was a little overblown in that nearly all ISPs contain this language to protect themselves from extremely heavy users trying to run a business on a residential line, and in many instances the language is never even enforced. Google primarily took heat because they professed to be offering a service that's different from the status quo, and the status quo is rights-eroding and ambiguous fine print.
Fast forward to last week, when Google Fiber appears to have quietly updated their terms of service and acceptable use policy
with new language that clarifies that they're not interested in prohibiting most reasonable uses of the connection:
However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.
As with most ISPs, you'll likely only gain the attention of Google Fiber's engineer team if you're pushing numerous terabytes monthly as you attempt to run a porn and poker empire out of your bedroom closet.
Updated with Google comment at bottom story continues..
. Google got a lot of press
for the fact that Google Fiber lured a number of startups to Kansas City, a number of which were buying homes in the city just to get 1 Gbps connectivity.
As noted on Monday
, Google is gearing up to deliver 1 Gbps service to the first customers in Provo, Utah starting this month. Given that Google Fiber's launch in Provo comes on the back of the existing iProvo and Veracity fiber to the home service there, Google says their Provo launch will obviously be somewhat different than Kansas City or Austin, with some existing Provo FTTH customers being able to sign up for Google Fiber much more quickly.
Back in April Google announced
that they'd purchased the iProvo fiber to the home network for all of $1 (ignoring build-out obligations), and while they stated the service would go live later this year in Provo, Utah they didn't offer specifics. Google has since gotten more specific in a new advertisement
(hat tip to Multichannel News
) that points out the first customer should go live next month. While not mentioning them by name, the ad pokes a little fun at local Provo incumbent ISPs Comcast and CenturyLink.
Google and the government's U.S. Ignite program (which we profiled last year
) have joined forces to host a competition aimed at finding applications that can utilize such connections. According to a Google blog post
, the Gigabit Explorer Challenge will take place in Kansas City from November 1 to November 3, and urges users to submit ideas to U.S. Ignite
for next generation applications that can truly put 1 Gbps networks to use.
A federal appeals court this week ruled that Google could be held liable for civil damages for the company's 2011 scandal
involving the company's collection of Wi-Fi data from unsecured hotspots using their Street View vehicles. To come to that conclusion, the court followed a rather unique logic path
; according to the court, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are not
"radio communications" that are "readily accessible" to the general public and therefore Google violated the Wiretap Act.
When people think of the center of the technology world, places such as California's Silicon Valley, home to Google among others, come to mind. Others might envision the Seattle area where Microsoft and Amazon are based. story continues..
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors
, El Quintron