|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|March 18, 2014 09:00 AM EDT||
In the last blog, we started the discussion about where the Internet is headed and why this is relevant to the topic of net neutrality. The best way to map the future of the Internet may be to look at the kinds of things that interest a company like Google these days as part of its mission to be the repository of all the information in the world about everyone. In the last year or so, Google has acquired at least eight companies in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. Then, the Nest acquisition brings intelligent home automation into the fold. Google's Android OS is on more than half of the smartphones in the world. Google is moving confidently into wearables: Google Glass is here, and we can expect to see watches and other smart devices, including health-monitoring and sports gear, coming along too, if not from Google, then from another company. Google Apps, its SaaS platform, is now backed by 10,000 channel partners. Although partners don't make a lot from reselling Google Apps, only about $10 per user per year, there are cloud services brokerages popping up that charge migration and consulting fees for Google Apps projects. Google is also more broadly focused on ISVs with its Google Cloud platform. Even its futuristic self-driving car has progressed after a surprisingly short development time.
What's my point? Google is a leading Internet company, obviously, and these are all Internet-connected devices or services. On the device front, these will eventually access a multiplicity of information sources - not always Google's. How much of this fits into the old view of the Internet as being a population of passive human users sitting at a desktop computer, using a browser to surf for interesting content? None of it.
Internet-connected things are going to be big business, and not just for Google. The vision is of a world of connected devices - mobile and fixed smart devices with a degree of autonomy - collaborating with other devices, with people and with information sources everywhere. Doesn't that vision conflict with an Internet service provider's (ISP) business model that encourages a block-and-favor approach to granting access to information and end points?
Yes, it does. So, what happens when the irresistible force of the vision of connected things meets the immovable object of the ISPs' business model? Well, either companies like Google pay up, or they find a workaround.
Read more conversations about network neutrality, the future of the Internet of Things, and cloud in our other blogs and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date!
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