Over the weekend I visited the Google Fiber Space….a “store” created by Google to showcase the future of the internet here in Kansas City. As you have probably already heard, Google will be rolling out a next generation internet service in KC that promises internet speeds 100x faster than what you experience today (you’re probably getting around 5-10mbps at your home…Google’s service is just shy of 1,000mbps).
As I’ve postulated before…there’s still a big challenge in determining what you’ll do with all of that speed. Google’s Fiber Space attempts to answer that question with demonstrations of the services they’re providing but also inspiring the minds of innovative Kansas Citians.
- TV over Fiber – This is the primary use case that Google has showcased….and not truly a surprise. When people think about faster throughput, video is always in the conversation…I was personally shocked that Google was able to sign agreements with the major content providers and I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to deliver some value added services over the top (i.e. click to buy the shoes in a TV show, highlight the players on your fantasy football team, instantly search for the song being played in the background, etc…)
- Video Chat – In the Fiber Space, Google has set up a nice living room area with Cisco video conferencing equipment. During my visit, the video chat was set up between us and a dietician at the KU Med Center. She was helping some of the Fiber Space employees look up calories for their lunch at Chipotle, helping them make the best decisions between all of the ingredients of a burrito bowl. I wasn’t terribly impressed, but the thought of watching a Husker Football game in a Google Hangout with my “Nebraska” circle gave me goose bumps. Though my brothers and I will most likely always be separated by a few hundred miles on football Saturdays, the idea that we could watch a game together in high quality video was thrilling.
- Gaming – Obviously more bandwidth will allow for better quality online gaming and Google was even showing off OnLive’s on-demand gaming service (at the time of this post, OnLive announced massive layoffs and was purchased. Their future seems to be in question….or waiting for a quicker rollout of high-bandwidth providers like Google). Streaming games from the cloud means potentially never renting or buying a game again…you want it, you got it… straight to your TV (or other internet enabled device).
- Cloud Storage – Google’s equipment comes with a HUGE 2TB hard drive for storing all of that HD quality content from your TV, but also an insane 1TB of storage space in the cloud. The fact that fiber gives you insanely fast upload speeds means that theoretically you could store a TV show, movie or more up in the cloud and pull it down to other devices (i.e. tablets, laptops or phones) when you want to catch up….whether or not content providers will be cool with this is still TBD.
- ??? – Who knows….that’s the most exciting part of all this. Enthusiastic technologists, Kansas Citians and fellow nerds (with far more talent than I) will be coming up with crazy new ways to consume all of this bandwidth…..they always do. Considering that we never could have imagined how we would use all 2MB on a floppy disk back in the early 90’s, I’m sure we’ll find ways to constrain 1,000Mbps in short order
A few minutes ago, I received confirmation that my neighborhood has made the cut and within the next year they’ll start wiring KC up with this super fast internet. As I prepare myself for the next generation internet boom I’m SUPER excited to be on the leading edge of whatever is coming next!