Home > News & Commentary > Google looking to revamp another industry? (GOOG, AAPL, T, CMCSA, MSFT, ADBE, TWX, SNE, VIA, CBS)

Google looking to revamp another industry? (GOOG, AAPL, T, CMCSA, MSFT, ADBE, TWX, SNE, VIA, CBS)

MarketWatch is reporting that Google will be testing a new direct-to-home fiber-optic internet connection service that will reach speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.  The company is currently looking for interested communities, and hopes to test their new system with up to 500,000 people.

This service has the potential to be a game changer.  Google is interested in much faster internet connections because of their belief in “cloud-computing,” where very little information is stored on a user’s local machine because the actual computing is done by a remote server.  They have pushed this technology into the mainstream with services like Docs, Picasa photo editing, Calendar, and hope to take the technology further with the Chrome OS.

The current issue concerns the speed of the user’s connection to these services.  Even with the fastest available connection speeds, which in my area is 50 mbps, these services are not as fast as a desktop client due to latency.  Picasa only offers minimal photo editing due to bandwidth limitations, and video manipulation is impossible.  Thus, desktop programs like Photoshop, Office, iPhoto and iMovie are still necessarily stored on a local machine.

Google knows that companies like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Adobe (ADBE) are too entrenched on the desktops of consumers, so they are not trying to fight the battle there.  Instead they are staying on the relatively uninhabited world of web-based applications.  And they are winning, chiefly because they are a high-profile company and that no one else does free, ad-supported products quite as well as Google.

If this service from Google becomes widely available, and at a reasonable cost (admittedly a big ask), it would destroy the business models of many companies.  Software providers like Apple, Microsoft and Adobe would find themselves competing against a free, cloud-based product that acts in the same way that their desktop software does but available anywhere.  Content providers like Time Warner (TWX), Sony (SNE),  Viacom (VIA), CBS (CBS) etc be selling their media via streaming services, as people move their entertainment libraries off their shelves and hard drives and onto remote servers.  And current internet providers like Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) will be competing against a service which runs at 10x their current maximum bandwidth.  That is why this could very well be a game changing moment for Google.

-AH

Disclosure: Long GOOG, MSFT, T and the market in general.  No positions in any other stocks mentioned.

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