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Google's Sinister(?) Plans

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the do-no-meh dept.

Google 287

puppetman writes "This week, Robert X. Cringely makes some interesting observations as to what Google's up to next. He theorizes that Google is looking to create a bandwidth shortage that will drive ISP/cable/telephone customers into it's open arms (often with the blessing of the ISP/cable/telephone company). The evidence: leasing massive amounts of network capacity, and huge data centers in rural areas (close to power-generation facilities). The shortage will only occur if the average bandwidth consumption by individual consumers skyrockets; think mainstream BitTorrent, streaming moves from NetFlix, tv episodes from iTunes, video games on demand, etc, etc. Spooky and sinister, or sublime and smart?"

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287 comments

Google? (5, Funny)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690484)

Come now, Google don't do evil.

Here's a column for you, Cringe... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690554)

The REAL question remains unanswered after all these years: Just why ARE all Macintosh users homosexual? And why DO the authorities decline to prosecute them for homosexual behavior? Hell, if adulterers can get life imprisonment in Michigan, is it so hard to do something similar to the fanboi's who really are dangerous and annoying?

In your heart, you know I'm right.

Re:Here's a column for you, Cringe... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690780)

You do know that Apple is located in California?

Re:Google? (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690648)

Come now, Google don't do evil.

This prediction sounds less like google and more like Skynet. Especially the "piggybacking on power-generation facilities" part.

Re:Google? (5, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690864)

In the past decade, a lot of big firms with serious computing needs have been building huge off-site compute centers. Cheap power (a nearby power plant) and cheap cooling (a nearby river) tend to be the driving factors. Now and then you find a great site (mainly because the power plant will commit to providing lots of off-peak power,) and when you do, you often find a "facility" (think 100 ft underground, huge water-cooling system built) available for lease or sale nearby. Go figure, people have been doing this for a long time!

Plotting for the inevitable? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690690)

Anybody who has ever planned a large network (meaning .0000000000001% of Slashdotters) already knows that getting users to hog MORE bandwidth doesn't require an evil plot. All it requires is a network and attached computers.

If you build it, they will come. If you offer something for users to use, they will use it.

It's simple reality, no evil plot required.

Re:Plotting for the inevitable? (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690766)

Anyone who understands economics will know that when you increase consumption of something it spurs research and development for the related technology. If there is money to be made by making faster networks it will be done by someone.

I cant see how the average user's consumption coming in line with my already high bandiwdth usage would be bad. I am constantly torrenting, streaming, downloading, and playing WoW. As more people do all of these things it means i have a better chance of getting an even better connection.

Re:Plotting for the inevitable? (5, Funny)

k12linux (627320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691040)

<pedantic>
(meaning .0000000000001% of Slashdotters)

I know you are trying to make a point but that % of all people alive on earth today is about 1/15,000th of a person.

</pedantic>

What, and miss out on a chance... (3, Insightful)

Lotvog (1034852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690822)

... to coin the term GEvil? For shame, Columcille.

Re:Google? (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691080)

Come now, Google don't do evil.

You'll start seeing a new search results paging icon:

Eviiiiiiiiil
     

What? Me worry? (4, Interesting)

bitbucketeer (892710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690486)

Maybe Google will run fiber to my home out here in sunny Ridgecrest, CA. Verizon sure isn't going to any time soon.

Re:What? Me worry? (5, Funny)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690504)

Quit your whining; at least your roads are paved.

I've been waiting for something faster than dial-up for ten years!

Re:What? Me worry? (0, Offtopic)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690670)

Ridgecrest? I grew up there! Greetings!

No kidding... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690694)

I'd sure as hell jump at subscribing if Google offered an ISP service around here that was halfway decent.
Even if they *were* evil, they could hardly do worse than the local ISPs!

Re:No kidding... (3, Interesting)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690974)

No. I wouldn't want Google to do an ISP. No matter what, ISPs are always stuck with idiots who have no idea how to fix things. No sense tarnishing Google's reputation due to the inevitable.

Blizzard useto have a great reputation. Now they incorporate a ton of spyware that looks at your computer's every process, in the name of "reducing cheating." And their customer support is sub-par at best, banning paying users at a whim.

I mean, these are the guys who made the Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo series! They invented (or at least implemented one of the first major) online multiplayer gaming matchmaking network! But they got stuck doing some "evil" things, even if they are "necessary evils."

Re:What? Me worry? (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690892)

Don't you mean AT&T? Why would Verizon run fiber to your home in CA?

Re:What? Me worry? (2, Informative)

admactanium (670209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690990)

Don't you mean AT&T? Why would Verizon run fiber to your home in CA?
because they already do? verizon fios is available in some cities in california already. in fact, i hope to be moving to a city that has it available relatively soon.

How about google.net ? (2, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690488)

That would be easy to do without creating any bandwidths shortages.

Re:How about google.net ? (2, Interesting)

deopmix (965178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690686)

What I think we need is a .goog, or a .ggl or something along those lines.

Re:How about google.net ? (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690850)

And if someone wanted to create a successful 'unofficial' TLD google would be the people to do it. Unless a website is indexed by google it effectively doesn't exist (unless it's big/well known already). If google started returning .ggl sites I'd be adding their root servers the next day.

Re:How about google.net ? (0)

flight_master (867426) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691010)

Better yet!
.giggle !!!! Google does no evil, so they giggle!

I've been saying for a while now (0, Troll)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690492)

If microsoft was pulling some of the stuff that google had done in the past, people would be up in arms. Instead, simply because they're not microsoft, they get the public's and the IT's blessing.

Re:I've been saying for a while now (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690566)

If microsoft was pulling some of the stuff that google had done in the past, people would be up in arms. Instead, simply because they're not microsoft, they get the public's and the IT's blessing.

We know with almost 100% certainty that if Microsoft where doing something like this, there is no possible way it would benifit the consumer. With Google, that's not such a sure thing. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's not. But with Microsoft, it's sure to be bad.

Re:I've been saying for a while now (1, Troll)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690646)

That's because Microsoft has a proven, repulsive reputation.

Is it (1)

evil crash (739354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690502)

April first already?

Re:Is it (2, Insightful)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690520)

I wish it really was April Fool's day! I'm not at all familiar with Robert X. Cringely but what he's talking about sounds like tinfoil hattery mixed with John C. Dvorak's generally off-the-wall and consequently pointless speculations.

Re:Is it (3, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690594)

You're comparing him to Dvorak?
That's harsh. What did he ever do to you?

Re:Is it (3, Funny)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690666)

You're right. On further investigation, Cringely reminds me more of Art Bell.

Or how about... (3, Insightful)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690508)

Cringley's an idiot, and we're all dumber for having been exposed to this. Sinister? Creating a bandwidth shortage? How about anyone can see bandwidth usage is going up, and will likely do so further into the future. I don't really see how this can be considered anything other than gambling on a developing market. Sinister implies something evil. That can't be right, Google's credo is Do No Evil after all. To sum it up: Cringley=bad, Google=business.

Re:Or how about... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690884)

Sorry, I have acutally work on the Net Backbone in several locations: New York, San Jose and Illinois. With respect to them causing a shortage; not likely. The Incumbant LEC's control most of the fiber with some others being run by small companies. If there is an issue; people can lay more fiber or go through various competing CLEC for bandwidth.

Also, I have worked in the same datacener with Google; they have over 30 GigE feeds over dark fiber. As of a couple years ago; they had something like 60 strands per data center. Well, 60 for the larger data centers. As for tapping SBC (my current region) not likley. As for Chicago; downtown? They might give it some trouble; the city and the county have told SBC to maximize their fiber usage. The City and the County (cook) basically spanked SBC for putting too much in? How can you put in too much? Simple they put small end electronics on it; something like a chincy OC-12 or an OC-3 ring; instead of a OC-48 which is using (TTL's) Tight Transmission Lasers; ofcouse with those TTL's being sent over a DWDM system. If true; downtown is screwed; but not the state.

Now that my NDA has expired; I feel like saying:
1) Google in their data centers and beyond use Gig-Ethernet; and my suspicions is that it goes back to the Googleplex in California. Currently; they use your standard "Wester Digital HD" with Gigabyte MOBO's; using Penitum III IV proc's. Their network is done by Force 10. Each rack has between 20 and 40 servers; depending on MOBO. Each rack is seperated by an HP switch. Their core switch used to Juniper M20's and they have upgraded to T320's.
2) funny clip of the telecom industry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj1Mtv9cD0I [youtube.com] they forgot Pacific Telesis in the video.

Re:Or how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690900)

Actually, the engineers on the project are left handed.

Re:Or how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17691128)

we're all dumber for having been exposed to this.

OMG!!! This means that if the nation watches THE PRESIDENT ON T.V. during the State of the Union everyone will become a COMPLETE IDIOT!!!!!!

Wow, just goes to show (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690512)

Wow, just goes to show that maybe the tinfoil hat and magic 8-ball are correct sometimes! It kind of reminds me of when everybody thought it was just a fad or something.. and they were wrong.

bandwidth shortage? (3, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690518)

How exactly does one "create" a bandwidth shortage?

Re:bandwidth shortage? (1)

nickcoons (1053636) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690558)

I would imagine that the idea is to buy/lease all of the available dark fiber (not sure if even Google has that kind of money) so that there's nothing left for other providers to expand into as their demand increases by bandwidth usage continuing to go up.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (2, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690866)

I'm sure google could afford to lease the dark fiber in an area... the stuff is all over the place and plentiful supply normally -- cheap.

The problem comes when you want to light it. Then it gets expensive.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690564)

Exactly. Considering other ISP's are selling off their rural subsidiaries to focus on the city's, I think Google buying it up is just fine. Google have a good reputation for providing services to users for free, and we might see some real competition in the market.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690578)

Sheesh, don't you watch C-Span? You send a few personal internets through the tubes, and the enormous amounts of material will get in line and be delayed.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (3, Insightful)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690592)

Don't you remember the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973? Sometimes simply saying that there's a shortage of something can function as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690662)

With an axe... Obviously.

 

Re:bandwidth shortage? (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690724)

Four words: Enormous amounts of material. It's not a truck, ya know.

Re:bandwidth shortage? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691014)

I try to think of it more like a series of tubes, getting clogged...

Skynet (2, Funny)

teal_ (53392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690526)

It's Skynet, of course. Somebody get John Connor into hiding.

Re:Skynet (1)

CCTB (1053666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691130)

Seriously. I swear the @#$@# robots are coming.

Wild speculation (2, Insightful)

ParraCida (1018494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690530)

So total internet data traffic is going to multiply by 30 in the next 3-4 years you say? That's a nice statement to make without any research to back it up.

The only thing he's got is google buying up loads of fiber and apparently power for their datacenters, while the immediate goal for this is as yet is unknown to us, a takeover of the internet infrastructure would be one of the less likely scenarios.

Re:Wild speculation (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690656)

Yeah, this is probably nothing more than Google building datacenters cheaply (by building near powerplants they can probably get a discount on the electricity, because there's little power wasted on long wires), and buying dark fiber to connect them to eachother.

Google is full of smart people who are developing interesting applications that require huge amounts of computing resources, and that's exactly what they're building.

I don't see how this is related to bandwidth use of people, and to assume so seems rather tinfoil-hattish.

Wait a minute... (2, Insightful)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690534)

So Google bought MILLIONS of dollars worth of cable and data centers in case bandwidth demand SKYROCKETS by some freak chance that Bittorrent suddenly becomes massive? And they're EVIL for considering this? Right.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690890)

So Google bought MILLIONS of dollars worth of cable and data centers in case bandwidth demand SKYROCKETS by some freak chance that Bittorrent suddenly becomes massive? And they're EVIL for considering this? Right.

Right now, the chance of bittorrent usage skyrocketing is zero. It won't become popular until ISPs realize they shouldn't be blocking it. And that doesn't seem to be the trend.

Right now, with Comcast, on a good day I can download at around 3 MB/s (yes, I mean big 'B') over HTTP/FTP/anything else. But bittorrent is severely limited and/or blocked to the point where I'm lucky to get 75 KB/s on things with 2000+ seeds. On top of that, they seem to limit regular download speed if you upload for too long.

The only upside is, if I'm ever accused of downloading anything illegally, I can claim "I figured if this were illegal, Comcast would block it like Bittorrent. Right?"

Google wants to be YOUR Internet. (2, Funny)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690544)

Does that mean the blue E will be replaced by a blue G? Yeah, I know what is Internet, the blue E...

"Sinister"? wtf? (4, Insightful)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690548)

At least the blurb makes it sound like the author of the article thinks actually USING your bandwidth is a BAD thing. I think that if google (or anyone else, even microsoft or apple) gave people reason to use more of their bandwidth (like more streaming content, more stuff to download that appeals to joe sixpack without taking even as much effort as going to the pirate bay or another site to try and find a torrent) is a GREAT thing. At first it may cause the internet to have some pains (if its a sudden surge, most likely it'll be a slow acceleration), it'll be only temporarily before the ISPs upgrade their network's capacity (which several are already doing anyways), which would mean EVERYONE would end up with higher speeds much quicker.

How exactly would that be a bad thing (or did my not reading the article mean I completely missed the point? If so, I'm sure many a slashdotter will be correcting me)

Re:"Sinister"? wtf? (1)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690714)

"No computer will ever need more than 6.40 Mbit/s of bandwidth". (*)

Alain.

(*) 6 Mbit/s is what it takes to get decent video to your TV (broadcast quality, not HD)

Re:"Sinister"? wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690854)

That's sufficiently fast for filling your 640k of RAM.

TFA got this as backwards as possible (5, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690552)

Google only buys/own fiberoptic backbone. They have bought this beause it has been for sale really cheap, because there is a *huge* surplus of it.

Also, Google needs this for its long term strategy of delivering search functionality to the world without beeing controlled other fiber providers.

The bandwidht limitation is largely artifical and created by ISPs, as a revenue generating business model.

ISPs could open up the valve on all DSL lines, and not need any more fiber to support it. Maybe some cheap equipment upgrades here and there.

Example: A fiber cable may consists of a few hundred fibers delivering from 10Gb to 10TB for a total of 1-100Tb. A city like San Jose, CA, with 100k households, this gives 10Mb-10Gb per household. (And there are actually more than 1 fiber cable)

Econ 101 Anybody? (2, Informative)

moehoward (668736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690572)


This is just plain good business. Of course, there are many nutjobs (rhymes with star-heft-miberals) that will always look at big business with shifty eyes. And, Google certainly is as big-business as they come. But good strategery like this is just common sense. They are most certainly not out to create a artificial (or whatever he is implying) shortage.

And, Google builds data centers in rural areas (and gosh, everywhere else) near powerplants for economic reasons as well. Heck, look at the economics of building that new data center in SC that they announced today. Average salary is shy of $50,000 for some few hundred jobs. Compare to placing that data center in suburban Chicago or San Jose or in Manhatten. I mean, this is just math. Makes for a pretty good conspiracy theory, though.

This Cringely article comes off very tin-foil hattish. Look at all the disclaimers and suppositions and "theories." Gosh, so shocking that a big company is "secret" about their overall strategy. He wants to know Google's "secrets" (strategry) just like an analyst of the oil industry wants to know BP's strategy. Any huge corporation is not going to let that out. Google is no more "secret" than anyone else. It's just that more people are asking Google.

Re:Econ 101 Anybody? (1)

quick2think (833211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690852)

Good business is correct. We also have to remember what type of company Google is. They are a marketing company first and foremost. Everything else they do is to support that effort. The Search product does not make them money, it's the paid sponsors that do. They are currently poised to deliver much more than just search ads with their massive client base. Their recent moves of buying bandwidth, renting massive office space in NYC and elsewhere, purchasing Youtube and pushing their Content network (The other half of AdSense as the Advertisers know it) all point to their inevitable expansion into the video realm. With the merging of television and the internet happening quickly one only wonders how soon Google would most likely be the reason for an internet bandwidth shortage. They would like their media in all forms permeating the web and attracting consumers, while earning them money, and all while doing no evil.

I'll believe it when it happens (2, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690574)

Frankly, I'm sick of commentators and "analysts" proposing outlandish theories with no hard evidence to back them up. Someone should create a website that tracks the accuracy of such predictions...

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (5, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690622)

For serious. I've seen more credible conjecture come from 13 year olds arguing over who would win in a streetfight between Batman and Wolverine.

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (5, Funny)

shigelojoe (590080) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690742)

Batman.

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690778)

Nah, Wolverine.

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690886)

Seriously, if Wolverine was able to defeat the Hulk, Batman should be no problem.

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17691020)

Nah Aunt May beat the Hulk too, so that's not a very good unit of fighting abilty. Try something like the number of Libraries of Congress he's defeated.

Oh wish I could remember the issue number that was in; my place in geek heaven would be truely assured.
Ah geek heaven...

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (1)

Pandare (975485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691044)

Well, if it's libraries destroyed, then Bush could take Wolverine with one hand behind his back. Remember: Is our children being educated?

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691102)

Nah Aunt May beat the Hulk too, so that's not a very good unit of fighting abilty.

Aunt May did not defeat the Hulk in a fight. That's ridiculous.

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (5, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690660)

I'll make a prediction: you didn't read the article. Also, Cringely tracks his own predictions, and every year he gives a summary of how he did. He tends to hover around 70-80% accuracy.

But don't let things like facts and background reading stop you from being angry. Grrr! That darned Cringely! Grrr!

Re:I'll believe it when it happens (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690784)

I'll make a prediction: you didn't read the article.


That's not a prediction, that's a guess. ;)

Yet another moronic mistake in the blurb... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690582)

If you are about to write IT'S, ask yourself "IS IT 'IT IS'" ?
If it's not IT IS, then it's ITS.

Think: HIS HERS ITS.
not HI'S HER'S IT'S.

Otherwise you look like an idiot.

Re:Yet another moronic mistake in the blurb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690782)

ahhh the grammar nazis.... *puts on tinfoil hat and hides*

Re:Yet another moronic mistake in the blurb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690826)

grammar tip!
http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail89.html [homestarrunner.com]

Re:Yet another moronic mistake in the blurb... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690838)

Think: HIS HERS ITS.
Yes, Her tits!!

Wait a.. Oh.

In case network neutrality breaks down... (2, Insightful)

comingstorm (807999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690596)

Google can't possibly corner the market on communications. It makes more sense as a defense against the breakdown of network neutrality -- the whole point of killing network neutrality is so that big teleco's can extort money from big network players like Google; the little guys aren't worth billing...

If Google owns it's own pipes, they have a level of immunity.

Re:In case network neutrality breaks down... (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690708)

Remember that the big beneficieries of the end of net neutrality will be the "last mile" owners, the ISP's. But yes, if Google has many data centers around the country, they could just provide free wireless for everyone, or at least threaten to if the ISP's don't play ball. They've done it in San Francisco, even got some city money for it. Since they wouldn't have to pay bandwith costs (they own the network), hardware fix-it and installation guys (it's wireless), and billing/customer support staff (it's free), they might keep their costs low enough to really make it worth their while to give it away. In any case, it's smart of them to be buying "real" property while there's still money to go around.

Re:In case network neutrality breaks down... (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691114)

Mod this up! It is all about the motive. Google has none: they only stand to loose if someone controls the traffic. They have no content of their own, they make money because the Web is neutral. When the content providers will push for non-neutrality, they will in fact be asking to make the Net into Cable, which would make Google completely irrelevant. I have no doubt that Google would kill its own mother to increase the margins, but at the present moment they are on people's side: their entire strategy depends on the presence of neutral, ubiquitous, slightly chaotic Internet.

Bingo! (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691038)

Mod this guy up. This is the only logical reason why Google is doing what it is apparently doing.

Of course, hedging against a breakdown in Net Neutrality isn't quite as sexy as "Google's going to become SkyNet, OMGWTFBBQ!!!"

So basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690604)

The shortage will only occur if the average bandwidth consumption by individual consumers skyrockets; think mainstream BitTorrent, streaming moves from NetFlix, tv episodes from iTunes, video games on demand, etc, etc.

Curiously, all of these things are being done by other companies, and Google are doing nothing of the sort. How strange. Or not, considering this is all random speculation.

What is he smoking? (3, Insightful)

malfunct (120790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690606)

Did he ever think that maybe they need TONS of bandwidth to replicate thier data between the thousands of servers in thier giant backend? Did he ever think that power costs are significant enough that not moving near cheap power is a significant business disadvantage? I work on a team dealing with exactly the same datacenter issues and I highly doubt any sinister plans on googles part (even though I don't personally trust them for completely different reasons).

The answer is easy, Google is just trying to keep up with the monster they have created.

Re:What is he smoking? (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690804)

Did he ever think. . .?

No.

KFG

Re:What is he smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690856)

Google has a fat ass?

Re:What is he smoking? (1)

karlm (158591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691030)

Oh, come on. Do you really think that copying diffs of the entire visible World Wide Web to hundreds or thousands of locations really takes that much bandwidth? I'm pretty sure only the Slashdot main page, the Google news main page, and about 1 or 2 other web pages change on the average day, worldwide.


Google must be conspiring with aliens, gays, and the Chinese government to need that much bandwidth.

Now please excuse me while I stock up on AA call options. I feel an aluminium foil shortage coming on.

Seriously? (3, Insightful)

jhjessup (936580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690678)

C'mon, people! Think about this for just a sec... Cringley's claiming that Google has been buying rights to data lines (future bandwidth) - secretly - for some time now. Cringley hypothesises that Google's motivation for this is their corporate insight concerning the future of a more bandwidth-intensive public. Assuming that this hypothesis is correct (it's reasonable), how is it sinister? Google sees that users are using more bandwidth, they see that they can position themselves in such a way as to capitalize it in the future. It's good business sense. Their stock probably is undervalued.

I for one... (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690706)

Welcome our new well-heeled big-piped overlords.

I hate to do this... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690718)

But the grammar standards of adults are pathetic.

"drive ISP/cable/telephone customers into it's open arms"

should be

"drive ISP/cable/telephone customers into its open arms"

Otherwise the first quote would expand to be

"drive ISP/cable/telephone customers into it is open arms"

which makes no fucking sense.

It's /= its people, and I thought only kids were stupid enough not to know the difference.

Financial hedging and commoditization of bandwidth (4, Interesting)

hillct (230132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690746)

Who here remembers Williams Communications and their bandwidth exchange, back during the height of the bouble? This is simply an extension of commodity hedging in the absence of a liquid market. The only way you can achieve such commoditization in the current environment is to invest in the related infrastructure. Much as any company hedges against the cost of key input commodities, critical to thheir business -think airlines investing in oil futures- Google anticipates increasesing commodity costs. There's absolutely nothing sinister about about this. It does however, seem to tip Google's hand with regard to their expectations of Net Neutrality. Vint has probably realized that his quest for net neutrality legislation will fail, and Google will face significant changes in network monetization through a vastly expanded peering fee structure. Where previously, peering fees were (and are typically now) paid by smaller network providers, to larger providers for the right to connect to their networks, in the future, such fees will be structured not based on network size but relative volume of traffic sorted by type. Google wants to minimize the impact of such peering fees (passed from colo provider to colo clients such as Google) by leasing as much network infrastructure as they can acquire. The simple point here is the fewer connections to foreign networks, the smaller the overall cost of peering under any model, regardless of the outcome of the net neutrality debate, but especially if it gets shot down. The point is, there's nothing sinister here. It's simple corporate risk management. Google would be negligent if they didn't do this.

-- CTH

Re:Financial hedging and commoditization of bandwi (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690970)

Who here remembers Williams Communications and their bandwidth exchange, back during the height of the bouble?

Interesting.. I worked for a company that wanted to do that a couple of years back. They even claimed to be getting a patent on the idea... They'd just been bought out by this US investment company, sold on the flashy words ('if we get 1% of the bandwidth market you'll all be millionaires' and other crap (Yes the statement is factually true but the size of that 'If' dwarfs the rest of the statement)). They even had special routers on order that measured bandwidth usage/availability (now *that* would be a hard sell... shall I go for a cisco or this unknown company with no track record?? hmm...)

All the employees knew that it was hogwash but management was just seeing dollar sign. One of them even remortgaged his house to plough into the business. It turned out that this 'multi million dollar investment company' had a staff of 5 people. They'd tried this 3 times before and all of the ventures had gone bankcrupt.

I wonder if Williams Communications was in the early history of these clowns (given their patent claims).

Mr. Cringely, I Question Your Motives (0, Flamebait)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690752)

Mr. Cringely

Do I have you mistaken for someone else or have you not been going on for some time with a meme about Google building some sort of super computer that is the Internet? Moreover, is it not established fact that none of these predictions have come true and Google has remained what it has always been, a search engine with text ads driving revenue and some interesting, but non-revolutionary and non-revenue producing side applications?

I'm calling you out. I ask that you fully disclose in a follow up article any stake-holdings you have in Google, its partners, or investors and, if existent, when you acquired those interests.

To the particulars of your argument, Google has a massively distributed database and a very high volume of queries. There need not be any conspiratorial or unusual reason for them to acquire lots of bandwidth and build distributed data centers aside from supporting their main functionality in a cost-efficient manner.

I do not think rampant speculation on the basis of scant fact, and repeated rampant speculation without any indication that past speculation has been borne out by actual facts, represents responsible journalism.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Slashdot Member

Follow the Article Link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690954)

And post on Cringely's site, if you want him to read you.

Neutrality Issues (1)

chromozone (847904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690770)

Robert X. Cringely seems to be saying the same things the providers say with regard to internet eutrality issues:

This bandwidth leveraging hasn't been a problem to date, but it is about to become a huge problem as we all embrace Internet video.. there is no way the current network infrastructure will support that level of use...Instead of using 1-3 gigabytes per month, as most broadband Internet users have in recent years, we'll go to 1-3 gigabytes per DAY -- a 30X increase that will place a huge backbone burden on ISPs. Those ISPs will be faced with the option of increasing their backbone connections by 30X, which would kill all profits, OR they could accept a peering arrangement with the local Google data center.

Google does support "neutrality" and I've never suspected it was from any idealism.

I knew they were buying up dark fiber a couple years ago:

  "Google wants 'dark fiber'"
http://news.com.com/Google+wants+dark+fiber/2100-1 034_3-5537392.html [com.com]

Pretty Wrong Conclusion (5, Informative)

uss_valiant (760602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690776)

After RTFA, here's a summary:
- Google owns (leases) tons of fiber, they control the bandwidth market.
- Google plans to build a lot of large data centers in rural areas.
- Google anticipates a massive growth in bandwidth usage due to p2p, youtube, etc.
- ISPs will be faced with buying tons of new bandwidth OR contracting with Google to use / connent to the nearby data center directly.

No sir. Google needs a lot of servers for their services. Sure they profit from their local data centers as edge proxies the same way Akamai does, but the whole theory about controlling ISPs, targeting contracts with your local ISP etc. is BS. These data centers are used for their CPU / memory power and then to minimize latency.

taking over the world? (2, Insightful)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690848)

aslong as we get the gourmet meals and time to work on projects, let them take it over already.. it couldn't be worse than things already are..

Cheap power (1)

pvera (250260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690874)

One of the reasons that Google has been snatching all that dark fiber is so it can locate new network centers in areas where electricity is cheaper. Right now Google is pushing the envelope on their multi cpu platform to the point that power usage is of more concern than the cost of the hardware. Having access to all that dark fiber makes is easier to run a smooth distributed network, plus it does not hurt them if they decide to offer broadband services.

Credit where credit is due (3, Insightful)

AllParadox (979193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690882)

Google has created its business on a single rock-solid concept: integrity.

Google will not route weird advertising to you just because they get paid for it. They will do their level best to allow you to run your own searches, and find whatever it may be that you seek. Any advertising is strictly ignorable in the right column.

Granting Google the possibility of ethical and honest conduct, I can think of a more likely possibility.

AT&T, the *Mother* of all telephone companies, wants to provide net services to all their customers. As part of their "services" they intend to randomly interrupt the flow of packets, effectively degrading the truly fearsome competitor to the phone company: Vonage.

Google, with power backups and significant broadband capability, can deliver what AT&T wants to disrupt: quality Vonage or other VOIP services.

After that, who needs MS? Google can be your phone company.

I sure trust them more than I do AT&T or Ed Whitacre.

Dear Cynic: Consider broader services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690904)

Perhaps Google's research group has been assessing the requirements of it's beta offerings and has now recognized that to provide quality services, they need more bandwidth.
http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=type%3Atvsho w+++-%22charlie+rose%22+-buy [google.com]

Or maybe... (1)

gregbaker (22648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690916)

Or, perhaps Google has decided it's cheaper to pay for bandwidth and save on the datacenters.

If they build in a rural area near a power station, they save on land/rent and it would be a lot cheaper to add more power capacity when necessary. Employees have a lower cost of living, so may be willing to accept lower pay.

They only need to bandwidth to carry the data from there to the urban centers where the requests come from. Maybe on the scale of Google, it's cheaper to do things that way?

Bad strategy (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690924)

If Google is really building datacenters and buying cables to control the internet bandwidth, because "in the future" we will all use 3GB daily, and this is Google's bet, then they suck.

10 years ago everyone had dial-up. It took only a decade for everyone to download/stream movies. And the technology to transport data will only get better. It won't stop at cable, at 1MB or 2MB per second. Maybe it'll even be wireless. I wouldn't strategize my business around the non-existance of a technology that WILL come, and it will NOT take long. /me waits for a Google C*O to say: T1 is ought to be enough for anybody.

Sinister indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690934)

Is there anyone else who thinks it's funny that somebody named Robert X. Cringely is accusing anybody of having sinister plans? That name belongs to somebody trying to kill Superman.

Wrong (2, Interesting)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690976)

If you google those rural facilities, say 'Google Ann Arbor' a google jobs link is the first hit. When you click on the job descriptions you'll notice they are looking for people to scan books, an IT staff for infrastructure needs, and HR for staffing.

I bet the bandwidth they're leasing is for hosting this among many of their other possibly unannounced projects. Which will have their own facility. Now imagine if they had some sort of cache synchronization routine between these facilities. And each one were devoted to cataloging the web servers hosted by that and neighboring ISPs, you think that might improve the performace of their search engine? Sorry, while I doubt all of Google's motivations are benign, they are supposed to make money after all, I seriously doubt they are planning to create a bandwidth shortage.

sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690982)

i've been reading slashdot for about three years now. in that time, i've seen titles go from announcement oriented (Gentoo 2005.0 came out!) to this kind of crap (Google's (Maybe?) Sinister(Huh?) Plans (It could happen?))

in just the past two days alone, i've seen sensationalist crap like this:
Hardware: Printers Vulnerable To Security Threats (OH ~GNOES LEZ GET RID OF ALL PRINTERS)

which only serves to spread FUD.

and this type of stuff:
Your Rights Online: Political Bloggers May Be Forced to Register
Science: Cancer Drug May Not Get A Chance Due to Lack of Patent

That sort of headline is not unlike CNN's headlines or even Fox's (Great President? or Greatest President?)

please editors, make a note to not post this sort of crap.

mod me flamebait / troll / whatever, but realize that three years ago this site would have modded this comment +3, Insightful.

Story submitter bias (4, Insightful)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690992)

People, please RTFA article first before confusing the biased story summary with what Cringely actually said. It is a very interesting column, and of course quite speculative. I didn't get the impression that Bob was suggesting anything sinister on Google's part, certainly I don't think he was suggesting that they would create a bandwidth shortage. What nonsense.

Downright silly conspiracy theory (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691008)

There's a whole lot of dark fiber out there, and the fundamental feature of P2P and P2G protocols is that they automatically distribute the load to make it difficult to overload the network. Sure, some of the peers may be far away, but if there is any network congestion as a result, the local peers will have the advantage and balance things out. If there is any planning along these lines, my guess Google is just betting on more information flowing, and lots of it.

However, I'd like to see a network infrastructure extension for variable power WiFi. That would scale without limit. As the density of the nodes increased, they would reduce their transmission power at each node, so the local connectivity remains constant. In regions with sufficient node density, you could take the wire/fiber backbones completely out of the equation. (My idea for this would include local accountability. Essentially you would ask your neighbors to borrow a cup of connectivity (or other resources), and they'd check your behavior with your other neighbors to see if you deserved the help or if you should go to the bottom of the priority queue.)

He's wrong again: it's to cache content (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691048)

and avoid net neutrality issues. Google has more hits and content (with GooTube) than anyone else. If you wanted to bypass the bottlenecks in a very disorganized Internet (just look at the freaking maps, but take your heart medicine first) then you buy up NOC space and cache as much in a distributed network as you can.

On this one, Cringely is dead wrong.
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