Google's announcement yesterday that it was going to roll out a gigabit broadband infrastructure that will force the traditional players to change their game plans looks very similar to what the search engine giant is set to do with the Nexus One in the mobile market and Gmail in the email market respectively.
In both cases, Google & the rest of the industry (both mobile and fixed-landline markets) are acting like co-opetitors and has, according to Tom Bradley from PC World, opened the proverbial Pandora box (at least for the historical incumbents we believe).
After Gmail, we were no longer content to live with a few MB worth of online storage boxes. Both Hotmail and Yahoo have had to up their inbox storage to 100 times what they were offering before. Yahoo went as far as giving unlimited storage.
Ditto for the mobile phone market. With the Nexus one, Google is forcing its partners to move faster than the rest of the extended competition (WinMo, Palm, RIMM, iPhone) and deliver even better, more evolved smartphones. The Nexus One certainly makes the Motorola Dext look like an antiquity.
Therefore, if Google succeeds in what it calls its experiment, it could well change the expectations of people in the US. Once hooked and living in a 1Gbps world, the search giant can only hope that it will have single handedly created a demand for ultrahigh broadband speeds.
Others like Rick Merritt from EETimes are questioning the real motives of Google in announcing such a plan, which follows Google's announcement that it would be giving free Wi-Fi in some airports, thereby destroying the established ecosystem of paid-for WiFi providers.
Rick Merritt's stance is particularly interesting. He positions himself as someone weary of "free" Google gifts and asks an interesting question. Will Google come up with an online alternative to democracy, like a Google Government? Well if Google's exchanges with the Chinese government earlier this year say anything, well, yes.