Something big is about to pop at Google. Just exactly what this is going to be has been a big topic this week at the Fall VON show.
I really have no inside information, but I do have some insight. I'd say a GoogleNet by Verizon partnership would be the ultimate expression of the following:
Google has been buying up dark fiber in and around metro areas. They have been doing this to enhance communication between their data centers, but maybe that's not all.
Verizon is buying MCI. MCI operates a good bit of the Internet backbone on which traffic travels. So MCI could, at least in theory, transport hypercharged GoogleNet packets between distant locations, where metro dark fiber can offer last mile connectivity to subscriber homes.
Subscribers? That requires lots of infrastructure, not only transmission but billing and customer service. Yes, Verizon has an infrastructure in place for wired, wireless and VoIP.
GoogleNet content--searches, rich media AdWords and AdSense ads tied to Verizon Wireless presence- hosted apps--could travel over this hybrid network.
So could television. Of the major phone companies - wired and wireless- Verizon has shown the most appetite for bringing TV to appliances. Plus, television programs streamed over GoogleNet by Verizon could be a way for Verizon to compete against cable giants such as Comcast.
And for Google, GoogleNet by Verizon could be a counter-strategy against major rival Yahoo!'s partnership with SBC - also a Verizon competitor.
Google Talk could be the IM component of GoogleNet by Verizon- as well as a softphone alternative to the existing Verizon VoiceWing.
Such a hybrid network could be packaged by Verizon as part of an enhanced Internet access service, say an extra $9.95 a month over existing plans.
Boosted by Verizon's mobile broadband solutions for Wi-Fi and handhelds the content could be monetized further. Think: Google AdSense ads, triangulated by presence technology, on your Verizon Wireless handset. If you subscribe to Verizon's service bundle (including GoogleNet by Verizon) or enhanced wireless broadband services such as EVDO, you get this enhanced content for free.
Verizon gets a cut of Google's income from ads- both static and rich- carried over the MCI-backbone-meets-GoogleNet-dark fiber-network, as well as those generated from presence-detecting, premium wireless broadband services.
Google gets Verizon's omnipresence in all the conduits they need to drive pretty much anything they want to anywhere.
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