Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Internet search giant Google joined an association that plans to build a next-generation wireless data network. Google is investing $500 million in the project, which is led by Sprint and Clearwire, and will be run by a new entity also called Clearwire.

Google has pursued initiatives intended to promote greater Internet access — preferably “open” access, meaning that users can choose what applications and services they use. The bet is that if users are allowed to choose, they’ll pick Google’s services, and therefore, will see ads delivered by Google.

Google deployed a free Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, Calif., where the company is based. It developed a failed plan to deploy a Wi-Fi network blanketing San Francisco. It also participated in a federal auction of wireless spectrum earlier this year. The company bid $4.6 billion for the spectrum, not because it wanted to win the licenses being auctioned, but because it wanted to trigger open access regulations mandated by the Federal Communications Commission for those airwaves. Verizon Wireless ended up winning the licenses.

Google entered into a separate agreement with Sprint under which Google will become the default search and local search provider on existing and new Sprint phones as soon as this summer. On some devices, Sprint users will have one-click access to Google. Maps, YouTube video and location-based services will also be easily available to Sprint customers. All this is good for Google but not as good for Sprint’s current default search provider: Microsoft.


Post a Comment