Last week, Google unveiled its ultrafast internet / TV at Kansas in US. The access speed will be 100 times faster than the traditional internet, and the prices, at $70 a month, seem to be competitive. I found three things about Google Fibre interesting.
Reading about Fiber, I couldn’t help but wonder how its roll out plan is so similar to the way Google approached ‘Search’. The comparison might seem a bit of a stretch, but consider this: Google’s search engine success can be traced back to the different approach it came into the market. At the core of its search engine is PageRank, which considers a link to a specific site as a vote for that site, and the engine used that number to give better results. ‘Let the market decide.’ And, now, to roll out its service at Kansas, it is asking its potential customers to vote by pre-registering the service by paying $10, and whichever neighbourhood gets the maximum pre-registrations will be the first to get its ultrafast internet / television service. In a way, it looks like an obvious thing to do, but I bet most companies would have chosen a neighborhood based on a gut instinct or a committee report. The big advantage here is the way it converts a potential user into a salesman. (For its IPO too, it took an unorthodox method. Here’s James Surowiecki on its IPO in FT)
Second, it’s interesting to see how commonly we use physical world metaphors online. The use of metaphors such as desktop, folders and files, and the impact it had on user interface and design probably did not make the computers as efficient as it should be, but it certainly helped us in getting used to computers. Google used another common metaphor to explain and promote Fiber – cars on roads. Here’s the video.
Finally, it’s easy to see why Google is so excited about doing this. Many newspapers have noted that it will help increase its clout in Washington. Given the growing influence of the tech companies, this aspect should come as no surprise. In fact, Google and Facebook are spending increasingly more on lobbying. And, of course, there are business reasons. Most of Google’s products reside on cloud, and if it can help speed up the adoption of faster internet, why would it not?
Tech in Olympics
We just have to recollect a few scenes from the movie Chariots of Fire – and the hilarious performance of Rowan Atkinson during the opening ceremony gave a good reason to do so – to realise Olympics today is different from what it was earlier. One of the most important ways it’s different today is in the pervasive use of technology. Over at Gizmodo, Brian Barrett asks his readers a question: In which sport do you think machine matters more than man the most? What do you think?
WSJ reports that the number of Twitter mentions of Olympics opening ceremony on Friday in London toppped the total number of Twitter posts during the entire 2008 Olympics in Beijing. However, too much of tweeting also had a negative impact. Gaurdian reports that Olympics organisers have blamed spectators using Twitter for jamming transmissions during a cycling event. Due to too much of tweeting, electronic updates on timing etc failed to reach commentators. A BBC commentator had to his own watch to estimate timings, it said.
Satyam settles with Aberdeen in US
With Aberdeen settlement, Mahindra Satyam has almost closed all its legal issues (in US) related to the fraud engineered by Ramalinga Raju. There is one more case pending in UK. It’s yet another reminder of how slow things happen in India, and how unfair the system is. As we noted earlier, even more complicated cases that emerged much after Satyam found some closure in the US.
Also of interest
- Far from Silicon Valley, tech industry finds an oracle [Anand Shimpi]: Reuters
- German Student Defies Google Cease-and-Desist with 1 Million Signatures: Readwriteweb
- Microsoft’s Lost Decade By Kurt Eichenwald: Vanity Fair
(Who cares if Microsoft lost a decade, when Windows 8 is the real thriller: Venture Beat )
- Vertical Is The New Horizontal: How The Cloud Makes Domain Expertise More Valuable In The Enterprise: Techcrunch
- Google says book scanning didn’t cost authors a single sale: Paidcontent