People intrigued by Google’s investment in Current Communications Group might want to check this post from my archives about a speculative Google Broadband. Can you feel it coming? The edge has to become the middle again. Since Microsoft is too scared and corporate to do it, and Yahoo is focused on mimicking (quite successfully these days) the Google recipe, Google has to step up to get us back to original internet peer architectures, and it seems they might just do it.
All current assumptions about the need for centralized servers and separate ISP services to deliver their content to “end users” may be disrupted within the next decade. I just hate that I was able to upgrade my DSL from 512Kbps to 2Mbps downstream, yet upstream is left untouched at a measly 128Kbps. Get and serve any data (text, voice, pics, video) from your own desktop, laptop or phone, through your electricity bill or the wireless mesh. Who’s a gatekeeper then?
Google might end up as much a hardware as a software platform, and I’m not talking about their webfarm, a mere drop in the sea of the billions of connected devices out there. (And yes, I can hold widely conflicting opinions about Google yet my head doesn’t explode!)
Update: I should translate into practical terms what limited upload bandwidth means. We use both Vonage and Skype In/Out at our home/home office (we have 4 phone numbers in Portugal, the US, the UK and France). 128 Kbps upstream means at this very moment, because my girlfriend is skyping her sister in France (nothing wrong with that, honey!) I can’t call my business partner in the US. Forget the thought of making a VOIP call and playing an MMORPG at the same time (yes, I know about Ventrilo, I’m talking about real extended conversation here, not barking orders and the occasional laugh in an online game raid).
Yet Portugal and other countries are full of outdoor and TV ads about the newest, baddest, fastest DSL services now available. Most are increasingly asymmetrical. Talk about selling technology and not paying attention to actual user scenarios. The internet is a household utility with concurrent use by several of its members, not a solitary activity anymore.