Google’s growth is only as strong as the world’s access to its products. These initiatives in connectivity and telecommunications look to extend the company's reach.
Google first built a search engine in 1998 to democratize the internet and access to information. Since then, the company has grown into a multinational corporation, now operating under its newly established parent conglomerate, Alphabet.
Today, the company owns dozens of products that improve access to information. Notable internet-based services include Search, Gmail, Maps, Translate, and YouTube, among others.
But Google’s revenue growth — with advertising at its core — is only as strong as the world’s access to Google products. Today, it’s estimated that less than 55% of the world has access to reliable, high-speed internet.
For this reason, Alphabet has become increasingly focused on improving connectivity.
We analyzed 8 connectivity initiatives by Google and the broader Alphabet organization. While certain projects have encountered setbacks, Google continues to push forward with initiatives like Project Fi, Google WiFi, and YouTube TV, among others.
Table of contents
- Google Fiber: How Alphabet won by losing
- Google Cloud platform: A leader in storage, compute, and content delivery
- Project Fi: The global carrier
- Google Hangouts, Chat, & Voice: Messaging products that bring users together
- YouTube TV: A worthy replacement for cable television
- Pixel & Android: The enablers
- Google WiFi: Strengthening connectivity in and out of the home
- Project Loon: Connecting remote regions and disaster zones
- Conclusion: Alphabet’s connected future
Google Fiber: How Alphabet won by losing
In 2011, Google began installation of fiber-optic infrastructure that would deliver gigabit-speed internet access to businesses and residents of Kansas City. Over a year later, the company began to offer these services for the first time.
While Google Fiber hoped to outperform competing internet service providers (ISPs) with regard to speed, it also looked to undercut many competitors in price. Google offered several packages, including a one-time $300 installation that would waive all monthly payments thereafter. Though the company has done away with this promotion, this was just one of many unconventional tactics Google has used to attract customers, promote adoption, and compete with incumbents.
Nearly 7 years later the company’s ISP efforts have slowed. Today, Google counts 12 cities that currently have access to its fiber services, in addition to 7 other cities that have access to fixed wireless services offered by its subsidiary, Webpass.
Google acquired Webpass in June 2016 to expand the Alphabet Access (Google Fiber & Webpass businesses) connectivity initiatives. Webpass expanded its portfolio of cities in 2017 with the addition of Denver and Seattle, but also ended coverage in Boston in early 2018.
While there are no upcoming cities listed on Google Fiber’s website, there are 8 potential cities that may adopt the service in the coming years. But progress may be met with conflict, as it has in the past.