As part of its initiative to connect a billion or more new people to the Internet, Google is planning to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where connections are not currently available. According to people familiar with the strategy, the planned networks could also be used to improve the speeds of Internet connections in urban areas.
“Google plans to team up with local telecommunications firms and equipment providers in the emerging markets to develop the networks, as well as create business models to support them, these people said. It is unclear whether Google already has lined up such deals or alliances,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “In some cases, Google aims to use airwaves reserved for television broadcasts, but only if government regulators allowed it.”
The company has been building an ecosystem of microprocessors and affordable Android smartphones to connect to the wireless networks. It has also been working on developing blimps that would transmit signals hundreds of square miles. The high-altitude platforms would involve frequencies other than those currently used for TV broadcasts. Google is also considering a satellite-based network.
“The activities underscore how the Web search giant is increasingly aiming to have control over every aspect of a person’s connection to the Web across the globe,” suggests WSJ. “The Mountain View, Calif., company now makes its own smartphones and tablets through its Motorola Mobility unit. It owns Android, the most-used mobile operating system for smartphones, and it is also preparing to sell Google Glass, a wearable device for people’s faces that it hopes will transform computing.”
Connecting more people globally would provide Google with more potential users of its search engine and services including YouTube and the Google Play store. More Internet users could also help drive online advertising on Google services. “The company currently derives 87 percent of its annual $50 billion in revenue from selling online ads,” notes the article.
Establishing its own wireless networks would allow Google to bypass cable companies and wireless carriers that have claimed the company is unfairly generating profits using their networks.
Other Google News:
Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Hollywood’s Storytelling Wins in The New Digital Age, The Hollywood Reporter, 5/24/13
Google Said to Face New Antitrust Probe Over Display Ads, Bloomberg, 5/24/13
Google Copies Amazon’s Playbook, Wall Street Journal, 5/23/13
Inside Google’s Secret Lab, Businessweek, 5/22/13
Treading Carefully, Google Encourages Developers to Hack Glass, MIT Technology Review, 5/15/13