Could Google Crush ISPs?
For a while now, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been entering new markets left and right and pounding on competitors pretty badly when it does. When Gmail came out, it swept up users from services offered by the likes of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). When Google Chrome came out, other browsers like Firefox and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Internet Explorer took a hit. When Android was released, the smartphone market was reshaped, a worthy competitor for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) emerged, and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) was further pushed out. Now as Google develops and pushes out its fiber Internet service, traditional internet service providers could take a major beating.
Google Fiber is the company’s new, high-speed Internet service that stands to best all other public ISPs when it comes to bandwidth, and at competitive prices. Currently, the service is only available in Kansas City, so it isn’t likely to crush other ISPs too soon, but Google is expanding the service, and it seems only a matter of time before it becomes a real competitor in the space.
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Some of the biggest news for Google’s Internet service is word that it will be offering free WiFi in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Google will offer the service freely with no set end-date. While again the service may not immediately damage other service providers, services that are both high-quality and free are not easy to compete with, and if Google can expend its Internet services, it could prove to be a strong contender in the ISP market against companies like Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) or Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
As one writer at Gigaom put it when Google Fiber was initially launching, even just a small entry into the ISP market by Google could affect other ISPs as Google’s business model is shaped by advertising more than service profits, which could lead Google to share data with the FCC that may have significant impacts on the pricing of other ISPs, who do not share such data.
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