Five Cool Things About Google Fiber (and One Not So Cool Thing)

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Never before have so many people all of a sudden thought, “I wonder if Kansas City is a nice place to live?” That’s because Google recently announced the details behind Google Fiber, its incredibly fast new Internet service that’ll cost eligible Kansas City residents $70 per month. Another $50 will add a cable TV package to the mix as well. All in all, $120 is in line with what you’d expect to pay for similar TV-plus-Internet service from other major cable providers.

So why would someone in Kansas City want to make the switch?

The Need for Speed

Google is promising download and upload speeds of up to one gigabit per second, which it says is about 100 times faster than the average U.S. broadband connection. Remember back in June when Verizon announced its FiOS Quantum package, which offered theoretical download speeds of 300 megabits per second and theoretical upload speeds of 65 megabits per second? That package costs $210 per month. Google’s theoretical download speed is more than three times as fast and its theoretical upload speed is more than 15 times as fast for a third of the price. If Google Fiber ever gets out of Kansas City, other Internet providers better watch out.

Best. Remote. Ever.

If you sign up for both Internet and cable for two years, you’ll get the coolest remote control ever made: Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet. Normally selling for $200, it’s arguably the best non-iPad tablet on the market, equipped with an app that lets you control your TV and search for shows with a swipe of your finger. Not only that, you’ll be able to watch TV on your tablet from any room in the house. The app will also be available for certain Android and iOS devices, letting you use your smartphone as a remote control as well.

Ultimate DVR

The standard DVRs from most cable providers do a decent job, but Google has an added bonus for its customers: Its storage box can record up to eight TV shows at one time and features two terabytes of storage. That’s a lot of episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey (500 hours worth, to be exact). Plus, if you ever get bored with what you’ve recorded, you can stream Netflix or YouTube from the DVR. Searching for stuff to watch on TV will include relevant streamable results, too, all in the same place.

Who Needs Hardware?

Google is offering one terabyte of Google Drive storage for Internet subscribers and is heavily pushing its Chromebook for $299. This, my friends, is what this whole Google Fiber thing is all about. As long as people have slow Internet connections, relying solely on Google’s cloud isn’t really an option. But if you have a one-gigabit-per-second connection? All of a sudden using a Chromebook with Google Drive as your primary computer doesn’t sound so crazy.

Free Internet

Even if you don’t want blazing download speeds and a cool tablet for a remote control, you can still get Google Fiber’s basic five-megabit service for $0 per month. Granted, you’ll need to put down a $300 construction free, but after that your Internet connection will be guaranteed free for the next seven years. Not bad if you’re just a casual Internet user or have been looking for an excuse to get grandma hooked up to the web.

Not So Cool…

Google’s TV package includes almost every channel you would want, with one notable exception: ESPN. As I’ve noted before, ESPN charges cable providers around five times more than the average network. Also absent from the list of available channels are TNT and HBO, both owned (along with TIME – full disclosure) by Time Warner

MORE: Google to Offer Kansas City Ultra-Fast Internet for $70 per Month

17 comments
Fatesrider
Fatesrider

There are a lot of articles being written today about the "end of the PC era".  I don't see that happening very soon for several reasons, one of which is highlighted very well here: Cost.

There are companies scrambling to create their clouds, believing that the Internet will suddenly have the capacity to carry all the data needed to access that data in a timely fashion.  But laying new infrastructure is costly and companies aren't in a hurry to cut the end-customer cost once that infrastructure is laid.  The profit margins are just too good to tell the investors that "hey, we're done expanding so we can reduce costs since we're not spending that money anymore on expansion."

Can ANYONE really see that happening with a publicly owned business?  The board would be fired and replaced with one who was only willing to raise rates.

That cost is what will kill the cloud and continue the reign of the PC - at least for the next decade or so.  With more and more providers limiting the amount you can get per month (and then throttling or cutting you off) or charging you by the megabyte, it rapidly becomes far more expensive than a one time download and local storage - which means the PC is going to be around for a LONG time.  People might finally get a clue that "having it with you" means carrying a large capacity storage device with your data instead of relying on a provider's fickle, always rising and ever-changing contract terms - especially when one considers the "new normal" of today's economy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that data transmission must be more than gigabit fast to get the same experience on a dumb terminal as one would get from a smart terminal which contained the data locally.   Even the cheaper computers today have at least three times that speed in internal data transfer.  1 gigabit isn't fast enough for large files when internal computer bus data speeds are 6 gigabits and rising.  And when manipulating large files (like editing a home movie), you had better have a hell of a lot of speed in your data transfer rates to even get it rendered in a reasonable amount of time.

Will the PC era end?  Probably.  But it won't come cheaply for thee or me and it won't be happening this decade.  I expect people will look back on the early 2000's as a halcyon time when data was cheap and hardware was expensive because the future looks to me like the  the hardware will be  cheap and disposable but the data you used to own will be painfully expensive each time you access it.

Jhonty Verma
Jhonty Verma

Google is going to rule the world with this superfast technology, it seems no one near to that standards, LOL what other companies were thinking more then 100 times - 101 times

Frank Woodman Jr
Frank Woodman Jr

The real major disappointing fact to me isn't listed. For IMO Google will never spread this service out side of Kansas City except to maybe one or two large cities. I just hope I'm wrong but in no case will any roll out of this service take place for years anyway. So we'll stay the captives of the ISP's out there right now for some time to come and so sadly we'll have slow poor service for a long time to come in this country.

Glen Moseley
Glen Moseley

I would kill for that service! Congrats KC!

Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson

Fiber means fever in german. It means google will make you have fever, if you use their products.

valente347
valente347

I think the enhanced upload speed is a very underrated perk. My family has a measly 1 Mbps up speed, and it took almost all day to upload a large graphic file to my online storage for work purposes. I hope Google shakes Kansas City up! (It is a nice place to live, if anyone's wondering.)

KenTucky69
KenTucky69

That's insane speeds! I need those speeds for when I play Call Of Duty!!

Sketchee
Sketchee

With the money you save, you can download the shows you love from Google Play 

Wendy Tweeq
Wendy Tweeq

As a Kansas Citian I'm really looking forward to this because the fiber trunk is under my sidewalk and I expect installation to be fairly soon. I'll gladly pay $300 up front for seven years of regular speeds. I would pay that to Time Warner in nine months.

David Brooke
David Brooke

It doesn't include AMC either. No Mad Men, Breaking Bad etc.

Gentler_Reader
Gentler_Reader

 For those, get a Roku box and a Netflix subscription.

unknownstuff
unknownstuff

 torrents...

Moe Lester
Moe Lester

That's stealing. The people that made those shows couldn't go torrent their student loans to pay for their educations...

Moe Lester
Moe Lester

Isn't that stealing? Do the people that work on those shows get to torrent their educations to go the schools, to get the know how  that allow them to bring you the material you like to watch? You can't torrent a degree, and you can't torrent a trade. Stop fucking stealing shit.

staticlab
staticlab

Hey for $70, who cares about HBO, ESPN and TNT.  They money you save you can be in the pub watching it or get it on the internet pirate web streaming sites with those speeds.  Are the Cable networks going to have to learn the same lesson as the Music industry?  boo!

1 GBPS up and down.  At those speeds getting video (live or downloaded) is a joke.  Linux FTW!

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

Hate to break it to you, but it's 1Gb/s, not 1 GB/s. Still amazing, just not GB/s amazing.