Paid Content reports Google is:
reviewing bids received from multiple technology vendors for the development of a national DWDM fiber network, an optical switching fabric that would cover the entire continental U.S., and ultimately the globe.
Let's be sober about rumors (and recognize that things typically play out differently than rumored). But, if true, there are lots of implications:
- Google would know precisely where users were and could serve accurate location-specific ads
- Broadband consumer trends would accelerate
- GoogleTalk would have much broader reach
- The company would capture lots of user data/registration information
- Google would in one stroke destroy the ISP business model or force it to change into ad-supported, free access or offer premium services to stay alive as a fee-based service
- The company would have a kind of potential presence on the desktop that would rival Microsoft
Lots more to come on this I'm sure.
Update: SiliconBeat quotes Google spokesman Nate Tyler who acknowledges the free wi-fi system, but says it's scope is limited to a few local spots:
Yes, Google WiFi is a community outreach program to offer free wireless access in areas near our headquarters. The project was started as part of an engineer's 20% time project, and we are currently testing it at a limited number of locations.