Photo courtesy of Flickr: Charlie is here
When the sentient robot invasion of 2042 occurs - you know, the one where robots and computers become self-aware and (for some reason) decide they want humans as their stupid (but cute) pets - I have no doubt that there will be one primary company to point the finger of blame at: Google. It seems that everyday, the company is inventing some new product or idea to further expand its dominance in the technology sector. Its latest venture into the arena of global domination is a technology known as Google Fiber, and with it, Google hopes to not only own the Internet (figuratively) but the way you get to the Internet (literally) as well.
What is Google Fiber
Contrary to popular belief, Google Fiber is not a new, high-fiber breakfast cereal - though I'm sure I just gave them a new idea: Google-O's, optimized for flavor!
If Google Fiber isn't a delicious breakfast item, then what, exactly, is it? If you haven't heard by now, Fiber is Google's foray into high speed Internet solutions. The idea began when Google execs were trying to push the government to mandate rules forcing communications companies to increase the speed and infrastructure of the current U.S. Internet network, beginning with an op-ed by the CEO of Google in The Washington Post. The thought process is that the faster the speed of high speed Internet access, the more competitive a country can become in the technology sector - with faster access speeds, you have quicker access to information and better video streaming and developers are able to create vastly more powerful programs.
Currently - and a bit surprisingly - the United States is ranked in 15th place when it comes to global Internet access speeds (we are also behind in mobile access as well). Google Fiber seeks to fix this issue by offering speeds of up to 1,000 mbps. To put that into perspective, the official Google Fiber website clocks my speed at about 10mbps. When I ran a comparison test, pitting my current speed against their proposed high speed access, there was no competition; to download an HD movie using Fiber would take all of seven seconds. It would take me around 15 minutes. I'll let that sink in a minute. Imagine all the funny cat videos you can stream! Keyboard Cat, here I come!
Google Fiber isn't only about high speed Internet, either - the service will also provide television, DVR, streaming, and access to Google Drive as well. Technorati has a breakdown of the services and pricing structure for Google Fiber. Images of the inside and the Google Fiber TV box provide an interesting look at Google's first "Fiber buildings."
The City Selection Process
Currently, only three cities have access to Fiber: Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah, with Kansas City being the first city to be selected.
Google invited communities to apply for selection via a competition, which saw cities race to come up with unique gimmicks to garner Google's admiration and attention. One such famous attempt included a city changing its name to Google. Another example of ingenuity was when the mayor of Duluth, Minnesota, promised to name every first-born child "Google Fiber."
More cities are slated to receive Fiber, including Portland, San Jose, Phoenix, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and Atlanta, as of the writing of this blog post.