Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Google Wifi expands from Mountain View to Starbucks

Several years ago Google outfitted San Francisco Bay area town Mountain View with free wifi for everyone with a Google account.  Google mounted wifi routers on light poles around the community.

In determining how to introduce its wifi to the rest of America, Google decided to present it through Starbucks to replace AT&T service at 10x speed, except in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo where Google Fiber provides 100x speed.

I expect Google to offer its wifi service throughout the USA, starting with areas of highest internet usage, in the next few years, and then expand to Canada, Europe, Russia, Asia, and the rest of the world.

Remember that Google owns Motorola's Cell Phone company and works furiously to develop the next Smart Phone that runs Linux and connects to a terminal (HDMI monitor, bluetooth keyboard with touchpad) to provide the equivalent of low end desktop computing power.

Recall that Google has already adapted Canonical's UBUNTU Linux to the Google Chrome Browser, providing the ChromeOS netbook operating system.  Asus and Samsung sell "Chromebook" models for less than $250 to compete in the tablet market. 

And of course Google owns the Android cell phone/tablet environment that runs on UBUNTU, meaning every Android device runs UBUNTU Linux natively. 

Asus chairman Shih recently said "Nexus 7 nearly broke us," then showed a new tablet into which the user inserts an android phone.  The phone provides computing power, and the tablet provides the large touch screen.  Asus makes the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets for Google.

Google recently introduced the ChromeCast dongle that users plug into the flat panel TV's HDMI connector.  It allows any device running Google Chrome to transmit streaming video from the browser to the TV screen.  In the future, expect all browsers to come up to Google Chrome standard so as to operate with ChromeCast or competitive dongles.  That means the browsers must have a full array of video decoders to make the browser compatible with various video formats.

Network communication gear manufacturer CISCO claims 55% of future internet traffic will consist of video content.  Google has for several years focused on incorporating new open video codec features, most recently compliant to its own VP8 and 9 standard (starting in 2010 with WEBM), into the Chromium/Chrome browsers.  In 2011, it began the process of stripping the h.264 standard favored by Apple and Microsoft from the browser in favor of the VP series of codecs.

A codec compresses video in order to create smaller files, and decompresses it for display on a computer or TV screen.  The compression necessarily sacrifices certain details, such as in broad areas of the same or similar colors.  When decompressing the stream, VP9 renders a nearly flawless (to the human eye) image, while h.264 makes the image broad same-color areas look splotchy or blocky, distracting to the viewer.  Thus Google's VP9 technology offers superior movie-watching experience on computer and TV screens.  And because it belongs to an Open Standards category of licensing, other developers can create perfectly compatible technology for their computing devices. 

Many television sets already decode video compressed into popular codec formats.  In the future, all new sets will decode VP9.  That means the user can connect a USB flash drive or hard drive or tablet or phone to the TV and the TV can access and play its video files.  But for those TV sets that cannot, Android and Chrome will do it for them, and use the TV or flat panel monitor to display it through an HDMI or ChromeCast interface.  I believe Microsoft and Apple will add VP9 codecs to their technology mixes in order to seem compatible with Google standards.

Google has definitely become a major mover and shaker in the computing universe.


Bob Hurt         Blog 1 2 3   f  t  
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