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Google Partners with Earthlink in Municipal Wi-Fi 81

tsalaroth writes "lightreading.com has an interesting article regarding the San Francisco Wi-Fi bids. Apparently, Google and Earthlink bid separately for building the municiple Wi-Fi, but have now joined forces. From the article: 'In this proposal, Google will provide a free WiFi service citywide and EarthLink will serve as the premium service provider.'"
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Google Partners with Earthlink in Municipal Wi-Fi

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  • So... At this point google is not so quietly accumulating all the bits and peices to compete for just about any segment of e-commerce, while at the same time having millions of geeks happily plugging away personal information to them in one means or another.

    And what we have to make us feel safe is that they have a catchy marketing phrase of not being evil which they've already bypassed then played semantic justification games about later.

    What could possibly go wrong from here?

    • What could possibly go wrong from here?

      Um - lots...

      Earthlink is known for outsourcing. In fact, ALL of their technical support and customer service is outsourced to various parts of the world. The only things thats really left are a few managers, the NOC team and a few other choice depts like Training. I'm really suprised they didn't at least talk to their ex-earthlink employees about this.

      I really don't know what the hell Google was thinking. This is pretty much Good and Bad partnering together to create t
      • What I think is interesting is the quote of the day on my Google start page:
        "Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable." - Trey Parker and Matt Stone
        Just a coincidence?
      • What the hell is wrong with outsourcing? You got something against the free market that has led to our current high standard of living? You want someone's job to be preserved despite how inefficient and costly doing so might be?
        • I have nothing against the free market. I have everything wrong with a corporation all out lying through their yellow teeth to their own employees.

          As for inefficient, not true. By far, in my experience, US based support is more efficient. Outsourced support mainly reads from a script on answers. They have a problem; they look it up and read through a script to fix it. After doing the same thing about 2 dozen times, they begin to learn it. Toss them something completely off the wall and they spend 20 minutes
      • earthlink was one of the last U.S. companies to have any phone-bound staff in-house, and i'm not just talking about ISPs.

        Offering free technical support to customers was a losing proposition in the first place, if manned in-house. You can be a small ISP and hire a few folks in-house to do this, but as soon as you reach a certain critical mass of typical end-users, you've got everyone calling you about teaching them how do use their computers.

        Here's a news flash: teaching somebody how to use their comput

        • I'm sorry to tell you this, but there are plenty of firms still doing stateside TS and CS.

          Verizon, SUN, Sprint, DELL, etc still do in house support. Granted, some might be outsourced locally or overseas, but not ALL of it.

          The main issue I had with Earthlink is that they lied through their teeth to their own employees, just to make a buck. Do you know why? Because the investors were pissed that the stock tanked after the merger. The reason for this is because the quality of the service tanked as soon as Eart
          • All the companies you mentioned, in fact, have their tier 1 and 2 tech support outsourced. They may have sales still in the U.S.. So does EarthLink. Because sales positions can still be measured against revenue-generating metrics. That's what you're calling "Customer Service". It's the sad reality, but it's true.

            Wait. You mentioned SUN? As in Sun Microsystems? These guys are not in the business of selling service to what i call "end-users". They sell to niche markets within the IT sector. You can still

    • "What could possibly go wrong from here?"

      Google's networked systems achieve consciousness on 10th June at 7pm GMT... blah blah blah we've all seen the results of that... Gotta be stopped... Who wants the mini-gun?

    • Sure, but not as much fun as this thread would be if Google had teamed with AOL. Oh, to see the flames in that discussion!
    • you're an idiot. when the major search engines were supponead to hand over their confidential data which was the ONLY search engine to refuse? i'd trust google in a heartbeat before yahoo (lets turn over private emails to the chinese gov'mnt without even hesitating) and microsoft (who already own most of the desktop OS's out there). and i mean how is using them for wifi any less secure than any other internet provider? anyone of them can see your information in transit if its not encrypted. enough with
      • Sssh, it's currently "trendy" to bash Google for being evil. Doesn't matter that it's totally illogical - it's a fashionable meme, that's what counts. By defending Google you are showing your uncoolness. Regurgitate the current soundbites and you'll be OK.

      • Um sorry...

        Google stood up to the US government becuas eit had nothing to lose in doing so. On the other hand capitulated to the Chinese government because not capitulating would mean it couldn't make money in China.

        "Don't be evil.. (unless it keeps you from making more money)"

    • They are a company, and like all companies thier primary intrest is thier profits. As long as you keep that in mind you should be fine.
    • could destroy network neutrality. If I'm worried about anyone messing with the Internet it's the telco gang of rent-seeking thugs bringing an imperialist caste system to a great freewheeling experiment in international democracy, all for the sake of a quick buck.

      If it's between the geeks and the telcos, I choose the geeks.
  • Makes monitoring a real headache. All us citizen-suspects will be tougher to keep tabs on.
  • What with their tracking and profiling from your searches and clicks.
    And now they will have you by the shorthairs when they are your ISP.
    The tracking details they will have are only dreamt of by Poindexter and his fanclub.

    • I'd be a little concerned as well - I'd like to see a very well-defined, detailed policy regarding data logging, retention, and uses - certainly not the typical corporatespeak that plagues most "privacy policiies."
    • You forget that they're supposedly trying to not be evil. Also, as a note about wardriving [wifimaps.com], Google seems to be less interested in that type of technique due to privacy concerns. However, if that changes, I am available for work in that arena =_)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:12PM (#14800560)
    * Google is strengthening their partnership with VA Software Corp. Secret talks about changing the name of Slashdot to SlashGoogledot.
  • Those guys were pretty kooky in the late 90's when they starting snatching up companies like Mindspring, poor Mindspring.
  • Free internet access has already been shown to be a dud model. Think back a few years and you may recall a whole host of free internet providers who were going to make up the dollars with advertising. Do you remember any names? Probably not, they all went broke or changed direction.

    So what's new with wireless? Not much. I for one would rather pay for add free wireless access (but not much- I'm never /that/ far from a wired point) than have to put up with adds. And if I'm going to pay, it has to have g
    • Unless Google's long term positioning is to be your media provider, and control the advertising. Think about Google's place in the world when we get to truly on demand, network based entertainment, where their data delivers extremely accurate advertising.
      • Your post nails it exactly. Having more people on the internet for more time is extremely beneficial to Google, and they want to make sure that they're at the center of it as it develops, so they can't be pushed out.

        Plus, it helps people, and Google likes that.

    • Just because advertising hasn't worked in the past for this, doesn't mean it can't. What many companies have done is make the ads intrusive and untargeted (untarget -> a bit more annoying, and advertisers pay less). Do Google search ads annoy you? Probably not. And yet they make a lot of money off it. If there's one company that can make the ad model work, it's Google.
    • I agree, especially where Wi-Fi is the most useful: handhelds. My handheld does not have a large enough screen to view a normal web page let alone losing another 1/4 of the screen to targeted ads. Of course, I am sure their ads will not be like the dial-up version. They will force fullscreen flash that you have to wait for or click-thru. If they choose click-thru, that would just suck for devices checking email. It would effectively force manual syncs.
      • But when you are running around the city and use your handheld to find the closest restaurant, store, gas station, etc, what pops up at the top of the list in tasteful but bolded text? That's right, the guy who paid google for that ad space. Remember, the whole advertising model on the web was failing before google showed up.
    • I remember Juno and Netzero. Netzero is even still around today only they don't offer free service anymore. I remember when banner ads were everywhere and then people discovered money couldn't be made off of the but Google still makes money off of adwords. To say a blanket market will fail is rediculous. Plus it's not truly free internet. The city will be footing part of the bill and Googles PR (which they really don't need any more of) will be good compensation too.
  • Oi guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dreamwalkerofyore ( 823146 ) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#14800637)
    Lay off of Google once in a while. They're agreeing to provide free wi-fi to a city. I know that everyone loves to trounce on anything that's big, but big companies are not always bad things. I frankly don't care if google handles all of my internet capabilities, because I trust them to do the right thing, and so far thay haven't proven me wrong. If we're still complaining about their decision in china, I think they did the right thing. They have clearly labeled warnings if chinese denizens search for something that's censored, and at least they have some freedom. What if Google was cut out entirely in China, and the only search engines that worked were something that's 100% government friendly? I'm not saying you have to like everything Google has done, but they have on multiple occaisions stood up for our privacy where other's have buckled, and until they decide to change that (which I don't think will happen unless there's a complete sweep of the Board of Directors), I will happily consume their goods and services.
    • Oh, right. And if someone throws a comparison to the tienanmen square image searches on google.cn and google.com, I will personally find you and shoot you. The whole shock thing doesn't work once it's been posted on every google story in /.
    • >I frankly don't care if google handles all of my internet capabilities, because I trust them to do the right thing, and so far thay haven't proven me wrong.

      Thats just messed up in so many ways.

      Google is a company. Have you've personnally met the board of directors? The techguys? The middle management? Why the hell would you trust them with anything?

      You use their services, but why does increase your trust in them? Do you trust Del Monte Foods just because you eat alot of pineapples?

      Google is just a
      • I think it might just be me, but I think it's equally crazy to be paranoid of scary, big, looming companies just because they are.. ooooooooo!
        • Who said anything about being paranoid about big companies?

          Do you give you personnal information to people you just met? Let strangers read your emails?

          Its about common sense.
      • i do have some good friends who are now engineers there. I've been on their campus, met and spoken to some. they're all hardcore passionate geeks who live and breathe what they do, working 15 hour days, not because they have to, but because they want to.

        where google stands apart from other companies is that google is, at its core, a company built by engineers, for engineers. engineers drive innovation, product roadmaps. The main campus with all the goodies is primarily reserved for engineers. you'll find

        • >It's not Google's place to tell a foreign government how to treat their citizens.

          Its not Google's place to tell ANY government how to treat their citizens. I'm not sure what the difference is between the US and China. Just because Google is incorporated in the US?

          >Now, can you imagine the U.S. without Google?

          Google has a market cap of $111 billion, 5,680 employees and revenues of $6.139 billion for 2005. It is only been in existance since about 1995/8, depending on what you count.

          In comparison,
      • Uh, he clearly said it's because Google has a proven track record with handling privacy and security. He also clearly said that if they ceased to continue with said track record, he would no longer "consume their goods and services." If you can't trust a person/group/company based on their actions, what the hell are you supposed to judge them by?

        If you eat a lot of Del Monte pineapples and they always taste good and you never get sick, that means you trust them to provide you a pleasant pineapple-eating e
    • That's all nice, but basically what you're saying is:
      Do not think.
      Trust your big daddy.
      Let big daddy do the thinking for you.

      In this case bid daddy is an advertisement broker/spyware company, which does services like search, e-mail, and now wifi to serve ads and gather info at the same time.

      So, oi guys, let's never lay off of Google, and always keep thinking ourselves. Really.

    • They're agreeing to provide free wi-fi to a city.

      I think they're agreeing to provide free service that's so crappy that many users will want to pay for Earthlink wifi service (isn't this what this whole article is about???)

      I know free is good... but if it's as annoying as Netzero, then it might as well not exist in the first place. And without the annoying part, I can't see how folks will -pay- for Earthlink's wifi.
  • This is a good idea, because the free market has not yet managed to bring cheap and plentiful bandwidth to the masses. / sarcasm. // have been to philadelphia a few times. the wifi competitors have nothing to fear from "municipal wifi." Only taxpayers do, given how expensive it is to provide such crap quality service. /// won't somebody think of the children!
  • Google with their egalitarian stance on how the internet should benefit every human on the planet + the ISP that guarantees no spam and employs geeks, elves, leprechauns, gnomes (oh wait... that's Travelocity), unicorns and pretty office women! The earth is saved! Now if they can get Bush out of office next election, then we'll know that the world is finally on the right track again.
  • Like broadcast TV and radio which advertising subsizes %100, ads on access points, or browser controlled imbebed content, may ultimately pay for our Internet access.

    If the FCC were to set aside some long range frequencies for this, non drop-off (wavelength/2*pi) , and with compensatory multiplexing, decent collision avoidance, meshing, etc. there could be a new growth and a different(?) kind of Internet where the old landline ISPs are secondary to Wi-Fi.

    ---- (wavelength/2*pi) is called the skin depth.
  • That is the question.

    The whole purpose of muni WIFI/FTTH is about LOW PRICE.

    Letting ISPs get into the act only will raise prices and defeat original purpose.
  • Somehow I thought Google was the added-content provider (ya know, with the search engine and all) -- and Earthlink was an ISP. Silly me...
  • Will they ever manage to finish this project, or will it remain in a half broken for eternity?
  • I was having a discussion with a friend last week about muni wi-fi and its practicality. I said that I thought it was a pink elephant, and outlined the following reasons. The assumption based on these points, of course, is that you are trying to blanket the entire municipality with WiFi service, which comes with the potential for a lot of people jumping on.

    Shared fabric - Like hubs in the days of old, a WiFi AP can only move as much combined data per second as the number on it.

    Half duplex - Bandwidth is f
  • Using WiFi equipment for metro networking seems like a stupid idea to me given the limited range of the equipment. I think Google is making a bad decision hear since there are a number of competing technologies either available or in the works that can do metro wireless far more effectively. WiFi was meant for local area network.
  • *Earhtlink support and billing hell* ... *Cringe*

    I won't use it.


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