Google’s “for pay” internet…

Google and Verizon have announced their plans for a separate, “premium” Internet.

My question is: what common ground would these two companies have for wanting to charge for bandwidth.

First and most obvious is the Android phone. If Google is going to continue its pervasive push onto our devices and hardware, it’s going to need to be in bed with a wireless/phone provider.

Secondly, Google’s corporate interest in “free” is similar – and I choose my simile carefully –  to a pedophiles interest in candy.

Google perhaps foresees that concerns about consumer’s privacy and protection are likely to be a battleground for many years to come. But it doesn’t change the fact that we, as consumers, are easily and readily exploitable.

We have empowered Google with an astonishing insight into the world-wide-web, the opposing efforts of the content providers and the content consumers providing them with phenomenal insights into our individual interests etc.

If you have any videos on YouTube, check out the “Insight” button. Oh yeah, YouTube is a Google company now. So why would it be surprising that you are just a few clicks away from knowing what percentage of your viewers from Irving, CA are male and female? Or being able to tell where female viewers under 30 lose interest in your video?

It’s kinda cool that they can provide you with that information. And it’s really cool that it doesn’t cost you a cent!

But, uhm… That’s a LOT of data. I have a little over 2 terrabytes of videos on YouTube.  And given they don’t use cheap drives, that’s probably $200-$400 worth of storage.

And, uhm… That’s a LOT of data. It’s neat that they can recommend videos to us because of what we’ve watched. The fact that they are able to to use the requests your flash client uses to stream data to figure out which parts of those videos you give most attention to to make more specific recommendations is clever but … it means that somewhere there is a log that I like to rewind the scenes with great cleavage or a nice butt. (And subsequently youtube now recommends various cleavage videos to me).

Did I mention … that’s a lot of data. And because YouTube is a Google company, that’s all tied in with my browsing history, my search histories (I use google chrome which, like bing, sends key-by-key queries so that google has a history of my typos).

Countless non-technical people perceive Google as the Internet’s search feature. “Google” (verb) is the act of searching the internet, and if that’s the first someone heard of the ‘web.

Those folks probably also perceive YouTube as the Internet’s place to access videos. I can’t see how they would ever conceive of the amounts of storage involved … the bandwidth…

I’m not sure I can. But … what’s paying for that?

I’ve never given Google a penny, so far as I’m aware. Yet I’ve gotten petabytes of data from them. When I’m looking for public-domain images to use in my videos, I probably go through upto a gigabyte of images all pulled from Google servers… At zero charge …. to me.

The general perception is that it’s from the fees that advertisers pay.

No way.

Their advertising fees are pretty damn cheap, considering. Even if they weren’t, they couldn’t possibly put a significant dent in the cost of running Google and providing services like gmail and YouTube all for free… Racks, servers, cabling, connectivity, electricity, management, security, development …

Deep down, we know something is paying for all this. But it isn’t me. Is it you? I doubt it.

And we don’t really care, ’cause meanwhile we’re getting searches and pictures and videos for free. FREE!

What these two companies have in common is their recognition that people will spend money to get their “free”.  Folks will gladly drive an extra 50 miles to get a $5 discount on a $400 white goods item. They’ll happily pay for 500 minutes a month so that they don’t have to worry about the cost of the 50 minutes they use.

Text messaging became the crux of modern day conversation that it is precisely because we were too stupid to register that text messages weren’t free. (Yes, we knew they weren’t).

Google and Verizon must see the potential to make money from “free” by exploiting our ability to be bedazzled by it. Like the people who call chat lines – knowing on some level that they are paying 5 dollars a minute, but unable to really grasp the fact because other than the cost of the call, the service is entirely freakin’ free!

If it were to start costing money to access some parts of the Internet, Google would naturally want some sort of cut from providing links to that content… And as long as YouTube itself didn’t have to ask you for money, they could make a killing from having you access the equivalent of a 0900 or 0870 internet address, especially since the same “free” site would be mixed in with premium content.

And because this would be technically outside the scope of the main Internet, such things would be less regulated reducing their costs and overheads.

In short: They know that the average consumer will overlook this kind of fee, if it’s low enough, to access the right kind of content. And our love of free means we’ve given Google more than enough data to be really good at knowing what we’re eager to see as free whatever the ancillary costs.

9 Comments

It is not ‘free’ that entices them… its the people with money who will pay more for zero ads and faster service. Business clients and others who will pay to step in front of the ‘free’ crowd. So ‘free’ will remain ‘ad-filled’ and ‘data-mining’ intensive. You actually give up a lot to get ‘free’.

The monied congnescenti who want out of free and will pay to get it … they know that its worth a lot to have no one logging your bits and bytes and first crack at the popular sites.

“Some will claim this announcement moves the discussion forward. That’s one of its
many problems. It is time to move a decision forward—a decision to reassert FCC authority
over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever, and to put
the interests of consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations.” – STATEMENT OF
COMMISSIONER MICHAEL J. COPPS
ON VERIZON-GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENT

Looks like at least 1 of the commissioners is putting the smackdown on Google/Verizon trying to drive the net neutrality policy towards their benefit. The real question is what the 2 republican commissioners that are pro-corporation with have to say about this, or if they’re ever going to back consumers in this fight.

from what i understand google/youtube do in fact use ‘cheap’ drives. there is no way to store all the data they have without using SATA extensively. using nothing but massive scsi (be it fibre or iscsi) is massively expensive and since they’re probably well into the exabyte range by now i just don’t see how they can use scsi and not be completely broke (even with google’s money backing them).

google makes use of a range of different types of servers but their most common is still a custom build that has 2 sata drives and a 12v battery per server. heres a pic

By cheap, I mean bargain bucket. The manpower cost of replacing drives bought purely on the basis of price over reliability, with that many drives, would quickly rack up.

Joker: That’s kinda my point, as I said, free is bait, that’s why – as a corporate entity – they like free. It also helps them get very highly motivated staff, who believe in free for different reasons and who feel they are doing a public service by providing us with free email, free search, free video sharing, etc, etc.

that is what they do though oli, not sure if youve sen this but they released this in 06

they do things a lot differently than what you’re prolly used to seeing in say a savvis like data center.

some of the newer really high tech data centers are even more exocitc with zero carbon crap but i haven’t seen anyone use the throw away server tray thing other than google. someone may be doing i just havent read about it.

I knew about the containers, and I didn’t see anything surprising in that video. But, again, those Hitachi drives aren’t the cheapest on the market. They’re also not the most expensive – they’re not the quietest, not the fastest. But they have really good lifetimes in servers/rack environments.

In 10 years, none of Playnet’s Deskstar drives in servers have failed. The ones in desktop PCs have, where they are probably exposed to more vibration etc. On the other hand, when we bought IBM drives with larger capacity and much better MTBF rating mostly all crapped out within a couple of years. And the bargain-bucket cheapo drives that we’ve occasionally thrown into people’s desktops often went less than 6 months before suffering critical failures.

It may have to do with the orientation of the drive inside the machine… All of our drives are horizontally mounted, like those on the google boxes. In the desktops, they generally got vertically mounted. Killer put a bunch in a raid-array casing which put them horizontally…

The only one that we still use is in my Fedex (FEdora Dev eXperiment, and also a staging drop-box at one point, hence the delivery pun) box. The box itself has died twice, but the drive hasn’t so much as lost a sector in 5 years. It’s the only one that got mounted horizontally.

Oh, and our Windows File server, ike, had a bunch. It also mounted all of it’s disks horizontally. I forgot about that because in the end it’s backplane failed, but the drives are actually still healthy.

I’m not talking about a hundred dollars price difference, we’re talking about may $25-50 per drive difference.

Killer maintaining Live6
(one of the live cluster’s cell hosts)

ugh, deathstars. i don’t care that they resolved the fluid bearing things i’ll never use another deathstar. don’t even care that ibm has nothing to do with them anymore, never again!

wheres the fancy cx7000 chassis full of blade servers for ww2ol? i’m a little let down :D

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