Google Expanding Its Reach

Published by: Dave Simmons on 30th Dec 2010 | View all blogs by Dave Simmons
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Google Expanding Its Reach

Google has been gradually expanding its involvement in multiple areas of the tech field, from robotic cars to wind farms.  Now the Mountain View, California-based company appears poised to delve into yet another new field: they want to be your telephone company.

The company has reportedly acquired all the infrastructure it needs to become a mobile provider competing with the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.  Google has already dabbled in selling smartphones, licensing its popular Android operating system to manufacturers of mobile devices, and is attempting to become a provider of Internet service.

The company also launched Google Voice, a low-cost calling service in May, 2009, and saw its usership of that service grow to 1.4 million in the first five months alone.  Google presently relies on several established carriers to sell and provide service for its devices, but purportedly has intentions of eventually dealing directlty with customers to cut out the middleman.

In 2008, Google bid on wireless spectrum in order to be able to provide mobile Internet access itself, but the spectrum went to Verizon who is now using it for its new 4G network.  There have since been widespread rumors that Google is buying up so-called “dark fiber,” or broadband cables that have been laid down but are not in use.  Those rumors have never been confirmed by Google.

Google announced in February that it would become an Internet service provider, providing “ultra high-speed broadband” service for as many as 500,000 consumers in a major US city.  That project is still under development, but Google plans to start testing the service at Stanford University in the coming months.

Google already allows consumers to bypass their mobile carrier's service as Google Voice lets users send free text messages, and the new version of Android supports VoIP Internet calling, letting users make calls via Wi-Fi networks.

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