In Sept. 2012, Google launched an experimental super-speed Internet, which is capable of pumping out 700mbps through fiber-optic connections. It will revolutionize the way we stream videos and browse the ‘Net. Codenamed ‘Google Fiber,’ the lightning platform is the fastest Internet service provider on the planet, yet critics are questioning what that means for them.
Google Fiber is currently being trialed in Kansas City. Residents have been offered a TV package for $120 that can record four programs simultaneously and includes a free terabyte of data storage and a free Nexus 7 smartphone, which serves as the remote control. You have to admit this is a very impressive deal.
Critics of the Fiber experiment are questioning Google´s reasons for wanting to become an Internet service provider when they make billions in revenue from advertising. One such critic is the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which claims it would cost the search engine giant $140 billion to roll Fiber out across the U.S. and in doing so would financially cripple the search and advertising giant.
Meanwhile, Brian Levin, a former U.S. Federal Communications Commission chief and current executive director of Gig.U says that Internet service providers are making a 97 percent profit margin on their sub-standard broadband connections and have no incentive to upgrade to a super-speed service. So is Google a lone ranger?
Google Fiber to the rescue
Levin´s comment is a poignant remark - especially given he was part of the committee that drafted the National Broadband Plan, a federal document designed to incentivize internet businesses to build a better and faster internet service across the US. The Google Fiber experiment proves what disgruntled broadband users already suspect: it is possible to get access to faster download at a lower cost.
Super-speed internet is going to happen. With Google leading the way other ISPs will have to follow eventually. And when it does, businesses need to be ready to take advantage with their online marketing strategies. As Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG Research pointed out, an accelerated Internet will change consumer habits.
We saw how a faster internet connection encouraged consumers to buy on the Internet when ISP´s shifted from painfully slow dial-up connections to broadband. Whilst Internet shopping has becoming one of the fastest growing markets in the last five years it still has its limitations.
The future of online advertising
Ultra-sonic downloads would be a Garden of Eden for app developers and Internet marketers – especially where video content and 3D graphics is concerned. Businesses are already reeling in massive revenues from video. According to MarketWatch, Taser increased their revenues for Video segments by 170 percent in the final quarter of 2012. The bottom line is that video promotion is becoming a vital ingredient of digital marketing strategies.
To support video content however, super-fast broadband connections such as Fiber will be needed. At the moment, websites with video content and slider images take too long to load and web users do not have the patience to wait. They will click out and move on to the next site.
OK, so Google Fiber is not being marketed as an advertising platform - but that doesn´t mean to say it hasn´t got the capability to be the biggest advertising platform on the planet – which is Google´s bread and butter. And that answers the question of critics who cannot see why Google need to become an ISP. If the current service providers are not going to give Google and their customers the speeds they want, the search engine giant will do it themselves.
Internet users want visuals
When Google introduced Chrome in 2007, their intention was not to compete in the browser market, but to challenge rivals to produce better platforms. The Internet innovators are now on a crusade to encourage service providers to use fiber optic technology that support video content and dramatically improve download speeds.
As if to prove their point, Google plan to expand the Fiber experiment and “hit the ground running.” Community manager for Google Fiber, Rachel Hack wrote in her blog, now that we've gotten into a good rhythm of installations and customer support, we're ready to pick up the pace."
Internet users in Kansas – nicknamed Fiberhood – are also enamored by the capabilities and speed of the new broadband connection. One resident, Ryan Carpenter said, “It just blows my mind—we can be running video via Wi-Fi on two smartphones and on two laptops, and also be watching and recording TV shows all at the same time. It’s a vastly superior service.”
Consumers are turning away from traditional advertising in favor of online options they get from smartphones, tablets and computers. Google also appear to be turning away from traditional advertising and has recently invested a further $50m in video content - this time buying a 10 percent share of Vevo, a streaming company that provides access to music videos.
It is no secret that online video content has exploded in the last couple of years and there is clearly a user demand for faster internet speeds despite the refusal of service providers to increase their bandwidth. Google Fiber promises to change that, and the way consumers choose to buy online will inevitably change as well.
By Richard Oldale, Founder of johnaudreyjones_productions