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Man Up, Google

by on August 5, 2010

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are both reporting that Google and Verizon are in talks to allow content to be sent more quickly to users if the creator pays a fee. Unsurprisingly, many people are calling this the end of net neutrality, and signaling the end of the internet as we know it. Of course things are never that simple. Google is denying the reports, claiming to have spoken with several broadband providers about neutrality, also pointing out their long standing mission to keep said neutrality. This is their statement from 2006:

“Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.”

So we end up with two sides and several angles to this story. Would a deal along these lines really be that damaging? In essence, it would simply allow large, traffic heavy sites to pay to secure the bandwidth needed to stream content quickly.  Assuming it didn’t go beyond that there wouldn’t be too much harm. If one restaurant can afford better ingredients than the next, and has a stronger menu because of it we don’t have people calling it the end of dining as we know it.

Not to mention Google has a very legitimate history of fighting against internet censorship and supporting fair-play between content providers. The likelihood of them reversing years of work (at the international level no less *cough*china*cough*) seems almost ludicrous. But many could argue that Google is a business and will always follow their bottom line, even if it means contradicting or compromising  their ideals.

Also we have the incredibly spotty reporting record of the two news sources. The Wall Street Journal has been used by Rupert Murdoch to fight personal battles over the last few years and the Times have always had a bit of disdain for research. So there has to be a fair amount of doubt weighed in when examining the whole situation.

What it all boils down to is Google needs to come clean on its talks with Verizon and AT&T. If they are so vehemently against these kinds of agreements, why are they listening to proposals? If these meeting are about something unrelated, they need to make a clear showing of what has been discussed to stop the public relations implosion. Maybe it’s time to step up and tell the big carriers directly that Google doesn’t play their game. One thing is sure, denials without proof mean nothing.

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From → News, Tech

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