75 thoughts on “Google NOT Turning Its Back on Network Neutrality”

  1. I am deeply concerned about this. If this is in fact the case, I will be on the move from Gmail and Google reader, and slowly getting Google out of my life, especially ever thinking about purchasing an Android-enabled Phone in the future. Much how I am solely Microsoft-free at home on my laptop and desktop.

  2. “…I mean it goes against everything Google stands for…”

    Hardly. Google already has a fast lane to most of the Internet thanks to its private server farm being wired directly to most of the public exchange points. This plan would simply put Google on an equal footing with Akamai, who already has a footprint inside major ISP networks.

    The only surprise here is that the Journal’s reporters failed to realize exactly how normal deals like this already are, and how phony the network neutrality movement’s rhetoric has always been.

  3. “Google’s proposed arrangement with network providers, internally called OpenEdge, would place Google servers directly within the network of the service providers, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The setup would accelerate Google’s service for users. Google has asked the providers it has approached not to talk about the idea, according to people familiar with the plans.”

    Google isn’t changing net neutrality. They want to do what Akamai does (and they do to an extend already).

  4. I would hate to believe this is true as well. I think this is a case of if the system is used against you, you call foul, but if you can use it to your advantage, then you will. I honestly don’t see why they need to do this as it is by no means a slow or painful experience to check my gmail, google reader or even youtube.

    I think Google is starting to get away from the don’t be evil idea in hopes of doing something that will get their stock back up to the $700 level again. The problem with that idea is that if your turn your back on the consumer, your stock price will never see its full potential.

  5. Maybe it goes against everything that Google *did* stand for at one time, but it’s looking like
    they could be changing their tune. I also think that Lessig could have been taken out of context. Perhaps he’s applying the whole “prioritizing traffic” idea to say, different bandwidth tiers for hosting providers? In that case, I’d understand.

    Don’t get me wrong, as the owner of an Internet company, I’m tottally against this. If always championed NN. It’s the only way to ensure innovation continues. You’re right on top I this one Om. Thanks.

  6. Google + govt = the new ‘big oil’ in the White House? Influence is influence and I’m right with you on the way you’re calling this one.

  7. @Richard Bennett,

    Excellent point. Now that is okay because they were using their own infrastructure to their advantage. Now they are using money power.

    That said, I think you are spot on — how phony the concept of network neutrality is especially if you take into account the whole issue of “peering” and how that alone can help the cause of a web entity.

    PS: I just updated the post to point out that it could be a deal similar to Akamai or it could be a deal like the one it has with T-Mobile. Certainly need to hear back from Google to get some clarifications.

  8. Peering is a a business decision, not a right. If one party has a greater need for a peering connection than another one, then that need is best expressed in commercial terms like contracts and a settlement to equalize the value for both parties.

  9. When I was 13 I wanted to work for Microsoft. At 17 I wanted to wok for Google. I was a fanboy who tried most of the Google services and reccomended them to friends. I put off my friends’ invites for Yahoo and MSN services. Im 19 now and the past 2 years changed my outlook of Google. It is now a virtual monopoly in terms of search, online ads and videos (youtube). And it continues to eat up the territory held by Microsoft and Yahoo.

    Google used to have a spotless reputation for ethics. While I still think it’s a great company, it needs to come clean on this issue or the “don’t be evil” motto would sound hollow. If the agreement goes against net neutrality, It must be stopped. Any attacks on net neutrality sound (to me) like immature guys begging for a quick-fix solution for problems they are responsible for.

  10. I’ve been worried about Google for YEARS!! They gave us free sh**, so we turned a blind eye toward their anti-competitive practices. How naive. They pose a larger threat than MS ever did. The Walmart of cyberspace.

  11. If nothing else, Google is showing how plugged in it is by having a blog post up less than an hour after the WSJ piece appeared… be interesting to see how the WSJ reporters respond to Whitt’s claims that their story was “confused.”

  12. Again the WSJ gets the wrong story. They were wrong on the Yahoo and Jon Miller story and now wrong on this. Is it me or these guys have no idea on what is happening on the Internet?

  13. @Anderson,

    Oh wow…. I agree with you on this one. This could be a slight case of confusion.Next time I read something there, I need to be very cautious when blogging it.

  14. There is clearly some shifting sands happening here — there are likely some parts of the story that WSJ got wrong, but why should we be surprised that Google is concerned about distribution of their service? Milli-seconds do matter to users and their reaches a point where some of these millii-seconds to load a search page can no longer be improved or protected by Google’s investment in data-centers (hardware) or code (software) and then need to start thinking about how do they get better control of the pipes. If you owned a factory generating $20B/revenues/yr. wouldn’t you invest heavily to secure fast distribution of your products to market — that is all what Google is doing here. The exact details of what they are trying to do may be fuzzy, but are we to truly believe that they are not trying to secure faster access for their content — how naive are we?

  15. There is no other way to provide HD video streaming and unlimited peer-to-peer then to install cache systems and cache servers at the ISP level. We want HD video don’t we? We want cloud computing don’t we? We want unlimited peer-to-peer file sharing don’t we?

    I don’t mind Google host all websites on the Google App Engine system, as long as it is built in a way that perfectly scales dynamically, and as long as they charge very very reasonable fees for the service, that is a reasonable fee per GB transfered, per GB hosted and per CPU cycle. Why would anyone want to use any smaller host then one that is truely unlimited, fully scalable and that is built to be at the cheapest possible price?

    What Obama needs to do is to build a http://viaeuropa.se/ Fiber to the Home network worldwide, which means we get to use Fiberoptics for gigabit symmetrical connections in every homes. Obama needs to make Cloud Computing a standard, so that if Microsoft or Yahoo want to add servers to power the cloud, then all of it needs to work on the same interoperable standard. Make a standard for it.

    Obama needs to make a standard for online video, make it work on $100 VOD set-top-boxes, a standard for that. So we can all watch HD video streaming from the Internet to HDTVs. Obama needs to implement a standard for the open mesh, data about ourselves needs to be standardized. Obama needs to activate open and free 700mhz wireless broadband, not only on white spaces, basically turn off DVB-T and use all of the 700mhz spectrum for free unlicenced wireless Internet.

  16. The Microsoft anti-Google propaganda machine shifted into second gear about 2 weeks ago. Expect a continuous stream of “Google is now eeeeevil” stories.
    Hasn’t anyone noticed the content delivery problems YouTube is having. There are time during the day when the site is almost unusable.

  17. Anyone who operates a larger internet website already knows that you need to pay up to get your emails delivered to the inboxes in Yahoo, MSN/Hotmail and Gmail. You need to use “services” like ReturnPath, otherwise while your emails may get delivered, they will most likely end up in Junk folder.
    This will be no different- you will have to pay up to get your bits delivered reliably to the browser in ADDITION to what you ALREADY PAY for the bandwidth, and some companies may get denied this privilege.

    Our company bandwidth bill is already tens of thousands of dollars, and yet this is NOT enough? We are ALREADY paying for the bandwidth.

  18. This will just put every competitor out of the market, A case of throwing money at an increased advantage over other players, who have less money, not very open source….

  19. If google done this but opened their network in clod fashion so others could be part of the HD party then good, if this is a closed source initiative then soory google this is wrong.

  20. OM, you were right the first time.

    The Akamai comparison is different because they let EVERYONE put their content on their servers. Akamai has no content of it’s own. Akamai has no motivation to prefer its content. On the other hand, Google has a huge incentive to make it’s services faster, and make it’s competitor’s slower.

    Google caches in ISPs could make Picassa twice as fast as Flickr. Orkut substantially faster than Facebook. Blogger faster than wordpress. Google is a competitor to the most popular services.

    – Will Google let Yahoo or MSFT put their content in Google’s cache servers?
    – Will they let me put my content there?

    Even if they do, would Google content be given a “preference”? i.e. would they let their content live longer in the cache?

    Will Google’s edge cache have APIs the rest of us don’t know about? (i.e. differential updates, on-the-cache processing for dynamic content, bigger size limits, smart expiry preferences, etc. for them vs. standard dumb caching for the rest of us?)

    Finally, there’s the basic dilemma that when I have to use Google’s cache to be as fast as Google, then google can effectively spy on any competitor’s traffic.

    This is simply too much power to give any company.

  21. Mr. Obama needs to enforce Net Neutrality. Leave it to the consumers to pay for better bandwidth and delivery services. Do not make others suffer and create an unfair “big company” advantage in the market by allowing these companies to buy their way to the fast lane.

  22. I still think that google has every right to get what info the can about us…After all they’ve made our lives soo much easier!! Even though adsense compensates for this I still think they have every right to go ahead with it

  23. Om, I’m shocked you fell for this. The whole piece is designed to deliberately stir up antagonism against Google. Who stands to gain? Rupert Murdoch, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the incumbents. Where can they find a reliable mouthpiece to spout their goals? The WSJ, of course.

    Don’t take anything they say on face value in the Murdoch era, man. Not without copious substantiation and multiple references.

  24. I think this is a two fold move.
    First a preventive move against maybe new ideas in search. The bar just got raised to, not only data centers but also to cache. As I said before fast and good enough beats precision in most cases.
    Second those nasty banner ads wait times for Google’s doubleclick will hopefully go down. I mean if it’s fast enough who cares, if it’s to slow and I don’t need it there are other ways. My guess is Google knows that and advertisers know it too. Which makes for a compelling reason specially in a recession.

    No special sort order and 1. might be a site effect of 2, which every chess player will truly appreciate.

    What you are saying is basically:
    This is a move along the lines of putting all Office application in one combined package, not actually making them better.
    In other words, business innovation instead of tech innovation. Who would have thought about that, let’s see how high Microsoft can jump.

  26. I believe that Lessig is disputing the article’s assertions about him. Perhaps Murdock-styled tabloid journalism has come to the Wall Street Journal.

  27. Google is not stupid, they know everything they are doing. Give us free analytic software was probably one of the smartest moves they have ever made. Talk about using some valuable information to their advantage.

  28. @ronald – Yeah, Google is pulling MS’s old tricks. Dunno why folks go to the mat to defend GOOG’s behavior. Me? I don’t own GOOG (or MSFT, YHOO) stock, so I just call ’em as I see ’em.

    There are several problems with Goog’s position:

    1) Once you put caches at ISPs, who cares about Network Neutrality? Only the suckers ship their content over the long-haul. Startups can’t compete.

    2) Lessig’s point on the issue today is that Anyone should be able to buy equal access to caches. If GOOG wants to install caches, that aren’t *equally* to everyone, then GOOG is way out of line. Remember this point because goog’s proposed OpenEdge is, so far, a closed system. Open in name only.

    3) Regardless NN, whether or not it inappropriate for content providers to get up inside ISPs. There’s too much spying and conflict.

    SRSLY PPL, I love Goog, too. This is just way out of line.

  29. How is this different from funadvice going to a CDN?

    Its a bit different because google has the wherewithal to bypass a service like Akamai. Google is big enough to do it. Are you saying, Om, that because they’re big enough to be their own Akamai, that they should not do it?

    Now, what would level the playing field is if they opened this up as a service to compete with Amazon’s Cloudfront (which btw, we are now using very nicely). So there would be more players at the ISP level that ordinary developers can have access to.

  30. I’m not sure I agree that there’s anything to criticize Google for yet. Their proposal seems like a logical attempt to scale up their services. How can you compalin about slow/spotty service of Gmail or YouTube, then criticize a serious attempt to solve the problem? Now, if Google uses their new capability to unfairly exclude other traffic, then they should be punished under antitrust laws. The fact is that some company is bound to be the biggest no matter what. Is Google really so scary? Are you sure you want to hobble them just because they are big? Personally, I think Google is much more open and transparent than any other large corporation I can think of.

  31. Google! welcome to the world of corporate finance, time to start wearing suites, hobnobing with poloticians, maybe start getting into missile technology while your at it.

  32. Om, why does your argument above again rely on the false premise that Internet service is a duopoly? The fact is that there are more than 4,000 independent, competitive ISPs in this country, of which I am one. Impose “network neutrality” regulation, and it would strangle that competition and create the duopoly you so deplore.

    Google, on the other hand, *is* a monopoly. That’s the reason why the government’s extremely laissez-faire officials — who let XM merge with Sirius, AT&T with SBC, and Verizon with Alltel — nonetheless cried foul when Google tried to execute a deal (not even a complete merger) with Yahoo!.

    And Google has bought many friends with its money. The salary of Larry Lessig is largely paid by Google’s grants to Lessig’s operation at Stanford University, and the lobbying groups that filed the “network neutrality” complaint against Comcast at the FCC are likewise the beneficiaries of Google’s “largesse.” Is it any wonder that they are all subtly shifting their positions (especially Lessig) to toe Google’s line?

  33. Google’s monopoly isn’t slowing down, I have one of their Google Android phones. Guess what? Hotmail’s the only site that doesn’t work on their internet. I can access it via the email app but it’s extremely slow to load. Google Mail on the other hand works perfectly fine and loads at lightning speed. Hmmm…

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