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81 comments

All we can pray (-1, Troll)

LiftOp (637065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800438)

...is that they continue to use their combined powers for good, rather than evil. Oh, wait.

"municipal" (-1, Offtopic)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800492)

One would think that the ability to spell would be a requirement to be a /. editor. You would be wrong, apparently.

Re:"municipal" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800562)

Spelling tip: just remember, the municipal is your pal.

Re:"municipal" (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809298)

The sad part is, I normally correct others on their spelling of such words.

mmm..

This is good foot.

This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800501)

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?

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (2, Interesting)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800691)

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 the Ugly.

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801258)

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?

You make it sound like its a bad thing. (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801263)

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?

Re:You make it sound like its a bad thing. (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801512)

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 trying to tell you that its the OS's fault or something.

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

valmont (3573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801277)

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 computer should not be a free service. But hey, AOL had already been doing it for decades, at ultra low-cost out of India, so what's a company to do to remain competitive and acquire some sort of financial health? Eventually, the same thing.

If people calling the call-centers were all people with reasonable problems, costs of operating call-centers in-house would have remained marginally low. But 99.9% of the time, somebody calls because their computer feels slow, because they've loaded every piece of spyware-ladden "free" junk out there.

I blame end-users for not enrolling at their local community college and learning how to use a computer before getting online. EarthLink even had at some point a premium tier of access, with premium support. Had people actually bothered buying this package, this would have subsidized a few more U.S. workers' salaries. But noooo, people just HAD to get the $20 package with unlimited access and unlimited free support.

The key to providing internet services while retaining your staff in-house is to market your services primarily to the Tech-Savvy niche. They'll keep your costs low. Speakeasy understands that. But for the rest of the unwashed masses, do you really want AOL, Verizon and SBC to be their only alternatives?

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801566)

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 Earthlink management took over and because the management went on a spending spree to buy anything they wanted. We had phones, pagers, blackberry's, LCD projectors and they where flying people all over the country for stuff like a 2 hour meeting.

While I agree that it is not the ISPs job to teach people how to use their computer and how to surf the internet, it is a fact that if you give good support, you will make more money and grow. If you look at the growth of Earthlink, its been very stale because of the quality of service.

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

valmont (3573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801965)

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 manage to have in-house support staff when you're dealing with a highly-targeted, tech-savvy market. Because your customers understand and pay for the value of support. Not so when it comes to Internet services.

There's no way in hell having in-house tech support would have allowed earthlink to grow. earthlink had to 1) cut costs 2) invest beyond dialup to allow for growth in a distant future. If you look at the last couple of years earnings reports, you'll notice that revenues have been constantly declining, while profits are still showing small increases. How are those numbers "met" quarter after quarter? cost-cutting. It started with the support staff. Now you can be pretty sure all elnk employees are just about required to generate their own electricity. Imagine an army of geeks on static cycles, cranking code day-in day-out. During the crazed dotcom days, most tech companies were bloated and spent money like crazy, earthlink was no exception, and it showed in its stock. Times have changed. So has earthlink.

its growth will come from new lines of business, that harness the power of the Internet to bring to consumers more powerful and cost-effective forms of communication, and information consumption. That is *if* earthlink manages to execute in this most cut-throat market, going after entrenched monopolies out to keep us stuck in the broadband stone-age, while France, UK, South Korea, and Japan, are already enjoying IP-powered communications and media, at speeds ranging from 24Mbps (ADSL2 in europe) to Gigabit (Fiber, Japan).

Believe it or not, if it wasn't for the thread of various municipal WiFi initiatives around the country, Verizon would further be dragging its feet in starting its fiber roll-outs in some of the most affluent communities in california.

GoogLink, if anything, just might help further disrupt a few things to keep the telcos on their toes.

Re:This: Earthlink Tech Support has your password (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802090)

Rumor: Earthlink and Scientology own a block in New York and their buildings, back to back, have Seekrit Passages for world domination.

Fact, last time I heard it: Earthlink routinely provides your password to its help desk people.

Figures Google would be borged early. Once absorbed, I wonder, will they call it Eargle? Goothlink?

Anyway, no surprise they're going to try the total control-brain parasite routine in SF first, because if the experiment in total control fails, they'll just earthquake the city and hide the evidence, eh?

Install the Diebold machines, install the WiFi, let's see how SF votes in the next election. It may be the future for all of us ....

You really wanna know? (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800822)

"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?

 

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800918)

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!

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

1cem4n (928083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801193)

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 the google bashing just because they're expanding into more services and finding better things to provide to users!

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

dustmite (667870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801498)

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.

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807397)

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)"

Re:This is shaping up to be fun to watch... (1)

wvitXpert (769356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801238)

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.

Our corporate masters (1)

DanTheLewis (742271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801451)

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.

Mr. Bush et al aren't gonna like this (1)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800507)

Makes monitoring a real headache. All us citizen-suspects will be tougher to keep tabs on.

Re:Mr. Bush et al aren't gonna like this (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800548)

On the contrary, they will just have to establish a nice cosy relationship with Google for one stop infomation.

Re:Mr. Bush et al aren't gonna like this (2, Interesting)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800576)

Point well taken, but now with a laptop and a faked MAC address, all those info-terrorists will proliferate like flies.

Yes, I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800742)

... to be an info terrorist. I will drop thought bombs on the world and when they read them, they will be like "OMG someone just thought bombed me, oh the terror!"

And because of that evil google, the authorities won't be able to track down and prosecute the info terrorists. What kind of sick world are we living in? And why do those who support this move by google hate America?

Re:Yes, I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802531)

Better still, why are all the spineless Stalinist meat puppets spouting inflammatory anti-government bile the same twits who want to elect a bunch of Ellworth Tooey wannabees who will only increase taxes and bureaucracy?
These nihilistic twits really stress one's love of the 1st Ammendment, no?

How is it hard? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800607)

All traffic still goes thru the routers, so can be monitored with ease if need be.

Re:How is it hard? (1)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801062)

Track them to what? MAC addresses? They can easily be faked.

Re:How is it hard? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801161)

Most laws can be broke rather easily. And when you get caught you goto prison forever.

A national database of MAC addresses that trace back to purcahsers would be put into place, with insane prison terms tied back to 'natiional security reasons'. That will stop most citizens from trying it. Hardcore criminals dont care either way, but laws were never written for them anyway.

Re:How is it hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801445)

It's closer than you think. Go to a CompUSA and buy a Linksys access point or similar device. The MAC address will show up on your receipt.

This means they're not just checking out a generic instance of a device (by its SKU, for example), but instead a specific piece of inventory with a unique identifier. If you pay for it with something traceable (credit/debit card, check, etc.), somewhere, there is a way to connect your identity with that MAC address.

Obviously there are workarounds - trade devices with a friend, only buy used or with cash, run Linux on it and change the MAC address, blah blah blah, but how many people are that savvy?

Re:How is it hard to change MAC address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801819)

to DEADBEEFBABE?

besides, MAC addresses are stopped at the first router

And you thought google was nosy before? (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800510)

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.

Re:And you thought google was nosy before? (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800572)

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."

Don't be Evil (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801185)

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 =_)

In other news (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800560)

* Google is strengthening their partnership with VA Software Corp. Secret talks about changing the name of Slashdot to SlashGoogledot.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800686)

This isn't going to go down well with the Shlappledot people :(

Re:In other news (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800891)

This is basically VA/Slashdot's wet dream -- "If we kiss Google's ass everyday, there's a small chance they'll buy us out and give us high paying jobs somewhere other than Michigan"

Is Earthlink still run by Scientologists? (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800566)

Those guys were pretty kooky in the late 90's when they starting snatching up companies like Mindspring, poor Mindspring.

Re:Is Earthlink still run by Scientologists? (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800650)

Wow. Thats just messed up if it is true;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthlink [wikipedia.org]

Google first gets sued by Scientologists and then they join up with them.

Re:Is Earthlink still run by Scientologists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800735)

Take it from a former employee - its true.

ELNK was almost bankrupt when they "merged" with MSPG. When the merge was done, ELNK senior management was put in place. After that, any idiot that sneezed got a cell phone and blackberry for his personal use. Spending went crazy. Soon after, Charles, the MSPG founder quit citing that his job was not fun anymore.

After that, they started downsizing employees by attrition. When that didn't go fast enough, they started closing whole call centers while telling most call center employees that their jobs where not at risk. When the final days came around, they would pull all remaining employees into a room and the execs, who had body guards, would tell them they where all downsized and they would figure out the severence at a later date.

Now - ELNK is run by outsourced TS and CS reps. Only upper mangement, training, NOC and abuse teams are in at Atlanta.

That company put all of us through so much hell. Took a good company and turned it into a rotten piece of shit. Talk to any employee and they'll tell you that they're glad the ELNK name was chosen because it would have tarnished the MSPG name.

Pittsburgh (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800909)

Here in Pittsburgh, Earthlink ate the larger ISP, Stargate. Now there are three total players: Comcast, Verizon, and Earthlink.

Failed model given a makeover (2, Insightful)

Grumpy Wombat (899702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800567)

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 good geographical coverage, which is not that easy or cheap to do once you start looking at all the blind spots from irregular terrain or tall building in city centres. I'm sceptical about the advertisement value being greater than the cost of provision, though google must think so. I'll be interested to see if this has any legs in the long term.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800670)

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.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801097)

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.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

ClearlyPennsylvania (918245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800737)

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.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800863)

Do Google search ads annoy you?

Exactly. Google revolutionized internet advertising by displaying relevant ads quietly on the side of your search results. No popups or distracting banners like those free isp's of yesteryear. Internet advertising has come along way since then thanks to Google but who knows if this will work. Atleast someone's innovating.

Yes I drank the coolaid, but sometimes I wonder if it will eventually give me the runs.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

SirKron (112214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800859)

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.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

mshaslam (688800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801123)

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.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801627)

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.

I hear that subtracts are sometimes better than adds, and if you got the cash you can maybe get division free wireless access.

Re:Failed model given a makeover (1)

caffineehacker (951547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14803818)

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.

Already live? (1)

sumi-manga (948999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800571)

I was under the impression there was already a free Google hot spot in Union Square [wired.com] no?

This does seem like the ideal situation for Google to provide "free" WiFi with AdSense to all of San Francisco. It will be interesting to see how this develops in other major cities.

Oi guys (5, Insightful)

Dreamwalkerofyore (823146) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Oi guys (1)

Dreamwalkerofyore (823146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800657)

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 /.

Re:Oi guys (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800700)

>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 tech company that provides Internet services, to actually give them blind trust is just crazy.

Re:Oi guys (1)

cflannagan (870780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800848)

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!

Re:Oi guys (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800885)

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.

Please Mod up the parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800966)

Very wise post.

Re:Oi guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801063)

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?

I have met a lot of middle management, AND Brin and Page. Yes, I would trust them. They're good guys, and very concerned about users.

Re:Oi guys (1)

valmont (3573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801138)

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 management in satellite buildings.

if *any* company can deliver on the whole "don't be evil" mantra, i'm pretty damned sure Google can.

I too find people's lashing out at Google regarding their China bid, excessive. The press is always hungry for controversy and "gotchas", so they sure had a field day pointing out that 1) Google refused to disclose personal data about their users to U.S. Govt and 2) Google was okay playing ball with China government.

What these pundits out for sensationalistic blood don't realize is that 1) and 2) are two completely different situations. Google is not out to change the world through foreign policing. It's not Google's place to tell a foreign government how to treat their citizens. It's got absolutely zero leverage over China, because guess what, should China give Google the boot, China would still be the same, because hey, there already isn't any Google there. Now, can you imagine the U.S. without Google? I uh, can't. That's leverage over the U.S. Govt.

Is it ethical for Google to even be doing business with China then? It's at least as ethical as most of the western world businesses having just about everything they make manufactured in China. Do you think for a second western companies give a flying fsck about the civil liberties of the people who work in those factories? You bet your life they don't. Then why the double-standards?

If anything, Google's presence in China just might be a stealthy backdoor for information hunger.

Re:Oi guys (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801572)

>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, Citigroup has a market cap of $237 billion, 294,000 employees and revenue of $108 billion for 2005. Its over 100 years old,
depending what you count.

Google is nothing to the big scheme of things in the US. Yes I can imagine the US without Google and I find it hard to believe that anyone else can't, unless you work for them. Try blocking all of google's domains or seeing what the US is without the computer; thats what US is like without Google.

Re:Oi guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801269)

Quite a few Google employees read slashdot regularly (and even post too!). Especially the "techguys".

It's really not an insidious cabal. Really. Quite [python.org] a few [blogspot.com] quite [lyra.org] prolific [norvig.com] people [wikipedia.org] would bail if the company started doing any thing "evil". There are too many principled idealists that work there that could get a new high-profile job in minutes if the evil factor was kicked up a notch.

Re:Oi guys (1)

dthx1138 (833363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802735)

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 experience. Right?

Karma whore... (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801177)

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.

Re:Oi guys (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801423)

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.

Re:Oi guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802223)

Just wanted to thank you for your comment about google on slashdot. I am so tired of these flamers ragging about google and china. Their comments never contain any understanding of the bigger issues of chinese policy, and simply pick on the fact that the world is not perfect. That it is not possible to be completely engaged in the world and be "not evil" in the eyes of everyone. Since being not evil is an entirely subjective goal, but I for one am glad that google is at least aiming high.

cisco kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800674)

Municipal is spelled Municipal, if you are going to try and be a Grammar Nazi then you should learn how to either spell, pick up a dictionary, use spell check yourself, or ask somebody, hell, anybody, because at least they'd be smarter than you. Geez trying to dog on the writer and you can't even get that right.

Now, to bring my comments back on subject since that's why comments exist. I can see why this would be a good step for Earthlink, they're a dying company, sure, people still use dial up, but other than that, are there that many people who still live in a box when connecting with high speed, or would want to. I read the article and I see that Earthlink is going to be the premier ISP, I guess this is Google's way of avoiding becoming yet another ISP, really I just wanted to bust out Cisco Kid for not knowing how to spell and trying to slam the writer for not spelling right even though he did. Yeah, I have the same problem, but you know what, I don't really care, if you don't know what you're talking about then STFU.

Public Goods. (0, Troll)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800769)

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!

This is Wonderful News!!! (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800892)

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.

Re:This is Wonderful News!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801076)

I have a hunch that Bush will not be in the next election, don't give google credit!

Re:This is Wonderful News!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801384)

I think they'll get GWB out of office after the 2008 election. Unless the Supreme Court (Alito, Clarence, & gang) suspends part or all of the United States Constitution, the chickenhawk is ineligible to serve a third term.

Nonetheless, having taking over the media and voting machines, and stolen wins from Gore, likely Kerry too, Gray Davis, Paul Wellstone, and the Georgia war hero in the wheelchair, things may not get any better for a long time. It used to be American Imperialism. Now with NAFTA, CAFTA, etc it's expanded into Global Corporate Imperialism. It's The New World Order we were warned about in the early nineties. And Orwell and others warned us about even earlier.

The future (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801179)

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. See Griffin, Intro to Electrodynamics, 2nd ed. Another reasonable source for this stuff is the O'Reilly 802 Wi-Fi book. ---- Lights up hemp and inhales.

Price ?? (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801248)

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.

Isn't this backwards? (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801288)

Somehow I thought Google was the added-content provider (ya know, with the search engine and all) -- and Earthlink was an ISP. Silly me...

Is muni wifi really cost effective? (1)

retro128 (318602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801846)

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 further limited as WiFi radios typically can only either listen or broadcast at any given time. I _have_heard whispers about prototype chips out there that can do full duplex, but I'm not aware of what products, if any, use them.

Limited range - The ISM band is very limited as far as how much power you are allowed to output. Most laptops and WiFi PCMCIA cards only have a broadcast power of about 30-100mW. At the top end you'd be lucky to get service past 500 feet with a standard dipole. Yes, you can use an external antenna, but that's impractical for laptop users and requires professional installation for desktop users.

Now add up all of these three factors - Because you have limited bandwidth, you must install a lot of APs to make sure your service doesn't grind to a halt. This is doubly so becuase the idea is to have a blanket of coverage. But there is another problem - If you have that many APs, you will need a wired connection for each one of them. You can uplink them to a main site, yes - But line of sight is a factor there, as is radio spectrum - If you have dozens of installations trying to talk to a main site, there is a big problem because WiFi only has 3 channels (1, 6, and 11) to pick from that don't interfere with each other in any way, which means your bandwidth will tank because of transmission collisions.

To get around this, you could uplink your APs serially, but then the problem is that the users at the last AP in the line will be contesting for bandwidth with the users of every AP after it, all the way up to the network access point.

In conclusion - While WiFi has a lot of great applications, city-wide Internet access isn't one of them. IMHO, the future of wireless Internet access likely lies with cell providers, who have paid for their (large) piece of the spectrum and are allowed to broadcast with a lot more radio power than ISM ever will. I'm already seeing this going on in EVDO [evdo-coverage.com].

muni wifi is really sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802506)

Here in Cupertino, with free Metro-Fi, the network is only usable around after midnight. Other time, the speed is worse than you 1200 baud or 300 baud modem.
As for 500 feet range, I found that using a 802.11g or 802.11g MIMO can pick the Metro-Fi more than 1000 feet away.

Metro-Fi needs to update the speed - or link directly to Yahoo and Google (Metro-Guys, Yahoo and Google is just down the street)

Is Google the next Enron? (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802641)

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.

Re:Is Google the next Enron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14803510)

Sure there are alternatives to wifi. But then you have to buy the hardware. To connect to a proprietary network. With a subscription. Which is remarkably like... EVDO? EDGE? GPRS?

802.11[a-z]* is great because it's standard (all operating systems and all hardware platforms support it) and everyone already has all the equipment they need.
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