The more paranoid among you will likely recall that famed technology writer Robert X. Cringely wrote a column a few weeks back where he outlined what he believed is Google's plan for Internet domination. To recap: Cringely claimed that Google is building massive data and bandwidth centers all over the country with plans to sell network bandwidth to strained ISPs in the years to come. You see, once the downloading and streaming of digital content over the Internet goes mainstream, the ISPs will find their networks overtaxed, at which point Google will step in and offer to sell the ISP some bandwidth. Google will eventually use its data and bandwidth capacity to supersede the ISPs, becoming, in essence, the largest ISP, television cable provider and phone company in the country and eventually, in the world.
At the time I dismissed Cringely's column as mere paranoia but a recent announcement from Google has forced me to rethink my position a bit. At the Cable Europe Congress convening in Amsterdam, Google issued a dire warning about the global web infrastructure and the crisis that web-based video will bring. The solution? Google has offered to "work together with cable operators to combine its technology for searching for video and TV footage and its tailored advertising with the cable networks' high-quality delivery of shows." While this doesn't necessarily constitute the sort of ISP domination that Cringely predicted, it does represent a first step for Google into a territory usually dominated by the ISPs: broadband TV. It will be interesting to see how things pan out but Cringely was certainly right about one thing: If Google wants to make an aggressive push into the ISP market, they've got the financial muscle and the brand visibility to do it.
For more on Google's 'evil' plans:
- see this Gizmodo article