SF Wi-Fi

I get lots of questions about Google competition with Microsoft, and certain events trigger more of them. Good example: Google’s looking to provide Wi-Fi service in San Francisco. People would ask me, „What does this have to do with search?“ The answer, turns out, is everything and nothing.

On Wednesday, San Francisco awarded the contract to Google (and partner Earthlink). Today, InternetNews has a story about a wireless search patent that may better explain Google’s business motivations for the Wi-Fi service. Writes reporter David Miller: „A patent application filed recently by Google details a method of pushing highly targeted advertising to users of wireless hotspots, and sharing the ad revenue with the wireless service provider.“ Ads would be determined based on the „geographical location of the WAP [wireless access point.“

Back in October, I opined that Google isn’t really a search company; it’s more: „Search is really a means to an end, and that end is the access to information. Looked at from this perspective, access to information, all of Google’s recent announcements make sense. And combined they foreshadow where the company is going and why Microsoft really should worry about Google.“

I won’t recap the entire post. But in summation: While Microsoft controls the desktop PC market, Google’s target is information, wherever it may be. As I explained in October: „Google’s proposed Wi-Fi plan with San Francisco shows Google is willing to provide the pipes for accessing information too.“ And when those pipes expand to, say, Wi-Fi or cellular services, no Windows would be required.

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