Google wants to make the internet faster. By speeding up the “most important computing platform of our time,” Google believes that consumers and businesses will experience a wide range of benefits, many of which we can imagine, some of which might be revealed over time.
There’s no product or specific consumer offering here. Rather Google is trying to advocate multiple initiatives in parallel that the company believes are important to usher in a better, faster internet (including for mobile devices). This Google Code Blog post lays out the arguments and suggestions as does the video below:
Google very much needs third party participation and cooperation and so has established this site to teach best practices and offer tools to speed up websites. In addition, Google says it will seek to advocate broadband friendly practices in Washington D.C. and abroad.
One can pretty easily understand Google’s motives. A faster internet means more usage and a better online infrastructure means that the web and the browser become better development platforms.
Theoretically no technology company should object; all would presumably benefit from a faster and more user-friendly internet. The fourth bullet of the Google post, about the so-called White Spaces initiative, is where some controversy might creep in to the broader effort:
While there are now more than 400 million broadband subscribers worldwide, broadband penetration is still relatively low in many areas of the world. Steps have been taken to bring the benefits of broadband to more people, such as the FCC’s decision to open up the white spaces spectrum, for which the Internet community, including Google, was a strong champion. Bringing the benefits of cheap reliable broadband access around the world should be one of the primary goals of our industry
Not everyone, chiefly incumbent ISPs and maybe wireless carriers, would be so happy with cheaper, more accessible broadband. Depending on ultimate retail cost it could be somewhat disruptive to current ISP and WiFi business models. But all that remains to be seen.
Google is clearly pursuing self-interest here but in this case self interest would appear to be broadly aligned with the interests of other web companies and the public more generally.