Posts Tagged ‘Google

03
Mar
10

More than a Sign

Bill Bunten, the mayor of Topeka, Kansas, has renamed his city “Google” for the month of March in an effort to attract the attention of the company’s pilot internet program, which intends to test lightning-fast fiber-optic cables in select communities across the United States.

Bunten, who feels that the introduction of such a speedy network to the otherwise “slow” town would boost business and inspire youth to remain in the city, is a 79-year-old who is not much of an internet user himself.

Google has not yet responded to the city’s campaign and continues to offer its experiment to communities across the nation.

In related news: I am completely, and utterly unimpressed.

Some would say that a publicity stunt like this might actually catch Google’s attention while simultaneously earning the city some “cool points.”

I say that if the company isn’t already well aware of its global importance, Topeka is like an all-too-eager teacher’s pet holding a polished apple in hand and presenting a snotty smile that even a mother would tire of seeing– ready to remind the search giant of just how awesome it is.

I have absolutely no qualms with the position of political and economic leverage that a game-changer like Google has gained within the last decade of internet growth, but I would have never expected a governing figurehead to publicly brown-nose the company.

I feel that the implications of undermining the culture and historical context of Topeka’s name in favor of a suck-up scheme for faster internet goes beyond a fun and harmless PR stunt. Imagine being a proud citizen of Topeka, Kansas and having to drive past a sign that reads, ‘Welcome to Google, Kansas”(displayed In the logo’s trademark colors, mind you) on your way home from work every day. To me, it would be equivalent to my father executively changing the family surname to “Saints” for a month in celebration of the team’s Superbowl victory. And now, by association, my very name represents an entity that has never personally done anything for me– or has had any part in my lineage, for that matter.  Identity should never be compromised in the pursuit of economic gain (or anything else), which I overwhelmingly see as the motive for Bunten’s stunt. Ah… more fuel for Google’s monumental realizations of self-importance.

At least the NFL doesn’t have enough personal information on me, my family, and the citizens of Topeka Kansas to plot something truly insidious.

Not cool, dad. Not cool.

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22
Feb
10

Just Warming Up

Solar Panels Decorate the Rooftops at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA

In my last post, I reported that the great ingenuity machine that is Google, Inc. had set its most recent benchmark in the climb towards internet domination at arguably, the highest peak of them all–becoming an internet service provider. While this still stands as a huge (if not expected) step forward for the company, it has been revealed that two months after forming a subsidiary called Google Energy, the giant has also submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting permission to buy and sell energy to consumers.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining on the Google headquarters in Mountain view, California. Completed in 2007, the company’s 4-acre solar panel array is capturing enough energy daily to power approximately 1,000 average-sized California homes. According to the company’s website, the current purpose of the panels is purely in-house. Each building decorated with the devices receives 30% of its daily electricity from solar conversion. This all comes as an effort by Google to both limit its carbon-footprint and provide back-up energy for its power-intensive data centers.

(According to Timesonline.com, two extended Google searches lasting beyond a one-click hit has the potential to generate about as much carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for tea. This occurs as Google’s supercomputers compete for precedence in handling the 91 million daily searches made through the engine.)

The Google solar system could not have picked a better time to explode into existence. According to a spokeswoman for California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state is set to pass a bill allowing energy companies to buy back up to 5% of their customers’ unused solar energy. Google’s patented PowerMeter, designed to help solar panel owners track their usage, sounds like a great way to cut costs and make the system more practical…

I’m not going to lie. If this cool stuff doesn’t start making its way to the East coast within the next few years, I might pack my things and head towards the Pacific. I guess the sun really is always shining in California.

18
Feb
10

One Hundred Kagillion Bajillion Times Faster

Google is plotting on your current ISP.

Last week, the company announced that it will be adding yet another weapon of mass construction to its already hefty arsenal of goods and services. Honestly, we all should have probably seen this one coming, but it still sounds like something we will need to experience to believe.

Imagine the internet at speeds 100 times what you or I currently has access to. Now imagine that soon enough, that gigabyte-per-second of data exchange is pumping through fiber-optic cables which originate locally and flow underground  into your home at a price comparable to what you’re paying for your internet connection right now. Unsurprisingly, this advancement originates from Google’s propensity towards re-thinking traditional models within the digital realm and providing the internet with its own patented variations of the “easy” button.

From now until March 26, Google is surveying interested communities and requesting  information on existing networks in order to conduct a trial run of their new and improved internet service.

This plan comes shortly after Google made claims in an an interview with CNN that American internet is too slow. The company has long been an advocate of what’s known as a “single Web,” an easy-access network, that is fast, reliable and devoid of government censorship or other access limitations. These comments are presumably an indirect commentary on Google’s current negotiations with Chinese government, which has recently come under the company’s threats of withdrawal after it was discovered hacking into the gmail accounts of some of the country’s citizens supporting human rights activism.

According to the article, Google analysts predict that a faster internet would spur business by opening the door to increased networking possibilities and application development. Add that to the fact that the United States, a key player in the initial development of what we now call the “internet,” has managed to slip into 18th place in the great data race.

Courtesy of Redux.com

Here are what Ryan Singel, a writer for Wired magazine’s blog has identified as Google’s motives for the trial. (See the entire article here.)

“Google is doing at least three things here:

1) It’s demonstrating to the public and to regulators that really fast broadband isn’t nearly as hard as companies like AT&T and Verizon pretend it is.

2) It’s sending a warning to large telecoms that they better start working to reduce prices and increase service or they might face a competitor they dont’ want to go up against, and

3) By partnering with municpalities, it’s learning/showing the nation how to bypass the current dominant telecom players by creating municipally-owned fiber infrastructure that can be rented to multiple service providers, who can then duke it out on price and service. If successful, that could create a model where Google uses its huge cash surplus to finance municipally-owned fiber optic networks, undermining its telecom rivals and speeding up the nation’s internet without ever having to run a consumer-grade network or learn how to do customer support.”

Whatever the case for Google’s most recent development may be, I see few benefiting more than the American community–and of course, the company itself.

Can you say, “the future is here?”

Bonus Clip:

Google is slowly, but surely, becoming a member of our families. It’s inside our homes, inside our computers, and inside our minds. The question is, does the Google way of thinking  imitate what is most natural to us, or is society slowly thinking more and more like the Google search engine? Is this good, bad, or inconsequential? Remember this commercial from the Superbowl two weeks ago?




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