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Google TV Service In Kansas City Could Be Up And Running Within Months: WSJ

Google Tv Service

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 02/23/2012 3:31 pm Updated: 02/23/2012 9:59 pm

Google may be on the cusp of announcing a "cable killer" service to compete with the likes of Comcast and Time Warner.

According to new report in the Wall Street Journal, state records show that last week Google applied for licenses to offer local TV service subscriptions to the people of Kansas City, Missouri. The Journal's source, an unnamed exec reportedly involved with the deal, said the project could be completed within the next couple months.

An officially announced project, Google Fiber, will soon bring ultra high-speed Internet to Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, which are separated by the Missouri River. This fiber-optic broadband network, when finished, will provide residents with connection speeds 100 times faster than what most American 'net users receive. Google announced in early February that it had finally begun to lay the thousands of miles of cables necessary for the fiber-optic network.

In a blog post from July 2011, Google had said it hoped to have the network up and running by early 2012. Obviously, residents of the Kansas Cities will have to wait a bit longer than that to enjoy the fastest broadband in the world.

WSJ first reported in November that Google may have been planning a for-pay TV subscription service. Since then, it has been speculated that such a service could be bundled into a competitive Google Fiber package to lure users away from cable and satellite providers.

Earlier this month, Ars Technica noted that Google Fiber requested permission from the FCC in December to build what might turn out to be a large "antenna farm" in the area of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Kansas Star speculates the site is located relatively far away from the Kansas City but doesn't rule out the possibility that it could be used for TV programming.

From the Star:

Why Council Bluffs? Perhaps because the [nearby] Omaha area sits on the backbone of the fiber optic cables that stretch the Internet across the U.S. The location could help if Google launched its super-fast Internet service in other markets, or if it incorporated a paid-programming package with its Google TV. [...] The Council Bluffs station might act as what the cable industry describes as a “head end.” That’s where television signals are collected from satellites, unscrambled and assigned to channels. Google could then transfer the signals over Internet Protocol Television, or a technology like that used with AT&T’s Uverse service called IPTV, to homes. Running a connection to Kansas City, experts said, would be relatively simple.

According to Mashable, the main moneymaking aspect of a Google cable service would not be subscription fees but the ability to sell ad space on its channels. Google already makes $40 billion a year selling ads online, the Journal reports.

However, Business Insider's Henry Blodget wonders whether such a "seriously expensive" project might spread Google too thin.

"If Google plunges headlong into the the local-fiber-and-Internet service market, it will have to spend a much higher percentage of its cash-flow from operations on equipment than it currently spends," writes Blodget.

Check out the slideshow (below) for a look at Google's most experimental undertakings.

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  • Gmail (2004)

    The now-ubiquitous Gmail -- Google's email product -- was unlike any previous email service when it was introduced <a href="http://googlepress.blogspot.com/2004/04/google-gets-message-launches-gmail.html" target="_hplink">in 2004</a>. It featured way more storage space (1 GB per user), search capability within your email, and conversion view, which groups together all replies to the original message to keep the conversation in a single thread. It also included a built-in chat service. <em>CORRECTION</em>: An earlier version of this slide stated the Gmail was launched in 2007. It was actually launched in 2004.

  • Google Mars (2006)

    Google worked with NASA researchers to create a detailed, digital map of the planet Mars. <a href="http://www.google.com/mars/" target="_hplink">Google Mars</a> works similarly to Google Earth -- except you're navigating around a far-off planet. Users can explore regions, mountains, plains, canyons, craters and other elements.

  • Google Sky (2007)

    <a href="http://www.google.com/sky/" target="_hplink">Google Sky,</a> the outer space version of Google Earth, is a way to explore the sky from your computer or mobile device. Click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar and you can see constellations, the moon, the planets, and user guides giving information on each. And, of course, there's a search bar to locate whatever part of the sky you're looking for. If you're unfamiliar, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX9MeF2Au9c&feature=player_embedded#!" target="_hplink">this YouTube video</a> gives a good guide.

  • Google Reader (2007)

    <a href="www.google.com/reader" target="_hplink">Google Reader</a> is a web-based news aggregator. It utilizes RSS feeds and included sharing capability until October, 2011, when this feature was <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/10/how-survive-switch-google-reader-google/44069/" target="_hplink">disabled and replaced</a> with a Google+ button.

  • Google Moderator (2008)

    <a href="https://www.google.com/moderator/" target="_hplink">Google Moderator</a> ranks user-submitted questions that come in during an online discussion. It was first created to help moderate the company's tech talks, and was later used by President Barack Obama's team to sift through Americans' questions for the newly elected president. It works like this: Participants can submit questions or ideas, and other participants vote on them. This crowdsourcing technique helps identify the questions and ideas with the most support or interest from the group.

  • Google Body (2010)

    Google Body allowed users to navigate through 3D anatomical models of the human body. Google Body ceased operation in Oct. 2011 -- when Google Labs shut down -- and will relaunch as Zygote Body. <a href="http://www.zygotebody.com/" target="_hplink">Zygote Body</a> will be a searchable, interactive 3D model of human anatomy. Check out this video for a look at the former Google Body.

  • Google Docs (2010)

    <a href="docs.google.com" target="_hplink">Google Docs,</a> a web-based office suite that includes word documents, spreadsheets and other formats, was innovative for a few reasons. One, the documents are accessible from any computer or device. Two, they're collaborative: You can share documents with coworkers or friends and read or edit them simultaneously. The docs also automatically save as you go, protecting the work from browser crashes or other accidents. Google Docs is a combination of two previous company projects: Google Spreadsheets and a web-based processor, Writely. There have been several iterations in the past five years, with the mostly completed version announced in 2010.

  • Google Goggles (2011)

    <a href="http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/#text" target="_hplink">Google Goggles</a> is on the cutting-edge of visual search. The product enables users to search with images instead of words -- basically you take a picture of something, and Google will recognize it and pull up search results on it. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/07/google-goggles-search-by-_n_382871.html" target="_hplink">See a demonstration here</a>.

  • Google X (2011)

    A November <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/technology/at-google-x-a-top-secret-lab-dreaming-up-the-future.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all" target="_hplink"> <em>New York Times</em> piece</a> gave a glimpse into Google's super-secret "Google X" lab, where the company is dreaming up innovative ideas for the future, like elevator that goes to outer space, driverless cars, and all manner of robots. In January 2012, Google announced an experimental lecture forum called "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/google-unveils-solve-for-_n_1258870.html" target="_hplink">Solve For X</a>," with an aim at solving "moonshot thinking." As Google <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/whats-your-x-amplifying-technology.html" target="_hplink">explained in a blog post</a>, the project will "take on global-scale problems, define radical solutions to those problems, and involve some form of breakthrough technology that could actually make them happen."

  • Chrome Experiments

    <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/" target="_hplink">Chrome Experiments</a> showcases innovative, interactive and generally awesome things being built all over using JavaScript. Some personal favorites: <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/detail/ocean-simulation/?f=" target="_hplink">Ocean Simulation</a> and <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/detail/webgl-globe/" target="_hplink">WebGL Globe</a>.

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