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.
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.