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The Almighty Buck Businesses The Internet

Facebook and Google's Race To Zero 53

theodp (442580) writes "As Facebook and Google battle to bring the Internet to remote locations, Alicia Levine takes an interesting look at the dual strategy of Zero Rating and Consolidated Use employed by Google's FreeZone and Facebook's, websites which offer free access to certain Google and Facebook services via partnerships with mobile operators around the world. By reducing the cost to the user to zero, Levine explains, the tech giants not only get the chance to capture billions of new eyeballs to view ads in emerging markets, they also get the chance to effectively become "The Internet" in those markets. "If I told you that Facebook's strategy was to become the next Prodigy or AOL, you'd take me for crazy," writes Levine. "But, to a certain degree, that's exactly what they're trying to do. In places where zero-rating for Facebook or Google is the key to accessing the Internet, they are the Internet. And people have started to do every normal activity we would do on the Internet through those two portals because it costs them zero. This is consolidated use. If Facebook is my free pass to the Internet, I'm going to try to do every activity possible via Facebook so that it's free." The race to zero presents more than just a business opportunity, adds Levine — it also presents a chance for tech companies to improve lives. And if Google and Facebook fall short on that count, well, at least there's still Wikipedia Zero."
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Facebook and Google's Race To Zero

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  • Re:AOL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:19AM (#46676145)

    No, That is pretty much what every startup has been trying to become when it grows since AOL,

    And then there are those like me... A non-startup who is trying to grow the absolute least possible, in fact, the goal is to become the inverse of Prodigy or AOL. By working to knit together distributed technologies to leverage the machines you already have and a network that isn't owned by anyone can thus profit everyone. Unfortunately, some sophomoric attempts have failed and left a bad taste in folks mouths, and the "web" of data silos is caustic to the distributed notion that everyone is a peer and there is no gate-keeping server or client at the packet level, even though that is the very notion that gave the Internet the democratizing and self healing properties such data silos exploit for profit.

    Realize the truth: Through these centralized services no one can truly using the Internet to its fullest. There need be no middle-men besides our ISPs for grandma to remotely comment on the photos in my vacation folder. It is the crappy state of pre-Internet operating systems that is to blame for the sad state of affairs, IMO.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler