Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Network Businesses Communications Networking The Almighty Buck The Internet Wireless Networking News Technology

Google Fiber Pauses Operations, CEO Leaves, and About 9 Percent of Staff Is Being Let Go (bloomberg.com) 204

The future of Google Fiber has been shaky ever since Google's parent company, Alphabet, was founded. The original plan was to expand Fiber's blazing fast internet service to more than 20 cities, with the goal of eventually delivering nationwide gigabit service. However, Alphabet hit the reset button on those plans Tuesday. Not only is Google Fiber CEO Craig Barratt leaving, but about 9 percent of staff is being let go. That translates to about 130 job losses, since the business has about 1,500 employees. Bloomberg reports: Barratt wrote in a blog post that the company is pulling back fiber-to-the-home service from eight different cities where it had announced plans. Those include major metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Moving into big cities was a contentious point inside Google Fiber, according to one former executive. Leaders like Barratt and Dennis Kish, who runs Google Fiber day-to-day, pushed for the big expansion. Others pushed back because of the prohibitive cost of digging up streets to lay fiber-optic cables across some of America's busiest cities. "I suspect the sheer economics of broad scale access deployments finally became too much for them," said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research. "Ultimately, most of the reasons Google got into this in the first place have either been achieved or been demonstrated to be unrealistic."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Fiber Pauses Operations, CEO Leaves, and About 9 Percent of Staff Is Being Let Go

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:08AM (#53153661)
    People think it should be cheap and easy to get high speed broadband internet to everyone. They think we should have a dozen different companies doing it and they all can compete and prices will fall through the basement. What they don't understand is how fucking expensive it is to run wires around the country. I don't know why Google, in all their arrogance, thought they could do something on the cheap that people a lot cheaper than them have been trying to do for decades. All I can do is smile and laugh at their hubris, and listen to everyone on /. bitch about 'monopolies' when as you can see there is a very good reason there are very few broadband providers in most areas - you can't divide the customers up that many ways and expect anyone to make a profit. And if there is no profit, no private business is going to attempt it.
    • They tried to use people that had way to much classroom found a loop hole saying if we put the cables high up near the high power cables then we don't need to pay pole fees but failed to see in the real world to work up there you can't use the cheap subcontracted workers. No you need the higher payed linemen that have the training and safety gear to work up there.

      • Without having any internal numbers, I suspect that the TV side of things is killing them. They probably anticipated that they'd get lots of double-play subscribers given existing industry politics, but it quickly turned out that most of those who wanted it were part of the cord cutter generation.

      • Optical ground wire. Sometimes called FOG wire.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        An optical ground wire (also known as an OPGW or, in the IEEE standard, an optical fiber composite overhead ground wire) is a type of cable that is used in the construction of electric power transmission and distribution lines. Such cable combines the functions of grounding and communications. An OPGW cable contains a tubular structure with one or more optical fibers in it, surrounded by layers of steel and aluminum wire. The OP

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      And if there is no profit, no private business is going to attempt it.

      Which is why Internet access should be a public utility, and not left to the private sector.
      • Which is why Internet access should be a public utility, and not left to the private sector.

        The last thing I want is local, state, or federal government being my ISP. Customer service from any of those entities, for anything in which they engage, is worse than any ISP, mom-and-pop or national. It's like watching Medicate or the VA, and then saying that going to the doctor for an ear infection should be a trip to a government office.

        • by Whorhay ( 1319089 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @01:05PM (#53156029)

          Not all government entities are created equal, and the same is true for private enterprise. I've never had a problem with my municipal services that cover gas, sewage, trash pickup, electricity, or water. The times I've had to contact them I've gotten an actual human on the line that resolved the issue quickly or helped me figure out the right party to contact to resolve the problem. Meanwhile dealing with both the phone and cable companies I've used over the years have always been exercises in frustration.

          Granted the above is only my experience and isn't necessarily representative of other municipalities and commercial enterprises. But going on personal experience I would love to hand over the administering of physical infrastructure for fiber internet connections to my municipality. Let whatever ISP's are interested rent usage of that publicly owned infrastructure, just like they already do when paying pole fees.

    • False equivalency. You already have multiple lines running into the house, whether copper, electric, water or sewage. All the problems mentioned above have already been solved for these. There is no technical prohibition of running fiber optic along any one of those four. In fact, it has already been successfully done in Chattanooga despite bullying by incumbents. It is technically feasible and profitable, but hindered by incumbent interests.
  • I was hoping they would make it to my area simply because the only option I have for fast internet is Comcast, and I would love to have an alternative. We are just up the road from a Google data center and already have the Free Wi-Fi in parts of the city, so I figured we were a lock. Crud.
  • by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:20AM (#53153753)

    Dammit! How hard is it to dig a trench and lay a cable in it? I know the trench-digging part at least is easy, because where I live they manage to knock out at least one vital utility a year digging around at random.

    Do I have to do it myself? Because me and at least 20 people I know would gladly volunteer to buy a spool of fiber and dig a mile of trench each with hand shovels if we knew for sure they wouldn't arrest us for it.

    The real question, of course, is how hard it is for local politicians not to take bribes from incumbent telecom providers to slow things down. And the answer is, apparently, pretty hard.

    • Laying cable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:34AM (#53153851)

      Dammit! How hard is it to dig a trench and lay a cable in it?

      It's challenging. Not in the sense that they don't know how to do it but rather that it's expensive and unless you already have customers it's financially risky. To build a whole network is enormously expensive.

      I know the trench-digging part at least is easy, because where I live they manage to knock out at least one vital utility a year digging around at random.

      Umm, that would be evidence that it is NOT easy.

      Do I have to do it myself? Because me and at least 20 people I know would gladly volunteer to buy a spool of fiber and dig a mile of trench each with hand shovels if we knew for sure they wouldn't arrest us for it.

      I don't think you have the foggiest idea what you are proposing. I have immediate family that has been in the business of laying underground cable. There is a lot more to it than digging a trench and dropping a cable to the bottom of it.

      • I don't think you have the foggiest idea what you are proposing. I have immediate family that has been in the business of laying underground cable. There is a lot more to it than digging a trench and dropping a cable to the bottom of it.

        Great! Can you please elaborate? Particularly about equipment costs and stuff?

        • Re:Laying cable (Score:4, Informative)

          by stdarg ( 456557 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:06AM (#53154093)

          I don't think laying the cable is the hard or expensive part anymore. AT&T put fiber in my neighborhood last year, and what they do now is dig holes periodically and use a machine to just push the conduit right through the ground like an earthworm. I guess the holes are to make sure it's on course, I dunno. It's pretty cool and very fast.. they ran fiber past 200 houses and about 3 linear miles of street in less than a week with about 20 guys. I don't know how much the actual conduit and fiber cost, but figuring $20/hour per person it ended up being around $80 of labor per house for that stage. That's a lot less than I expected.

          • by stdarg ( 456557 )

            Oops I mean $560/house.

            • Re:Laying cable (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @01:10PM (#53156077) Journal

              Oops I mean $560/house.

              You're still (probably quite a bit) low. Your $20/hr is definitely short of the fully loaded cost of those guys (these are usually not day laborers picked up outside Home Depot, but skilled professionals in their own right, and even the flaggers are probably members of CWA) and your time calc is also probably just to "pass" the house. It costs more time to put the peds/dog houses in at each house, then to string or bury the cable to the house itself. All in all, your labor cost "per house" is probably pushing 10x the above number.

        • Re:Laying cable (Score:5, Informative)

          by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:07AM (#53154097)

          Great! Can you please elaborate? Particularly about equipment costs and stuff?

          Cost is a complicated and depends on the situation but a very simple case probably would be somewhere between $5000-20000 per user [performantnetworks.com] for data cable for a simple run presuming there were multiple users along the route. High power lines can be far more expensive [elp.com]. Underground cable is somewhere between 4-8X as expensive to lay as overhead cable. The biggest costs are typically the civil engineering involved. Especially if you have to dig up or work around any existing infrastructure.

          Equipment? Depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it. Ignoring the equipment to hook into existing infrastructure you're looking at trenching equipment, cable feeding equipment, and a variety of other goodies. You also have to watch for buried power, data, gas, water, and sewer lines which aren't always well documented. Dig by hand? Don't make me laugh. To do it right you have to lay the cable below the frost line in most cases which can be several feet deep in many places. I know code near me for a simple drop requires a minimum depth for cable TV cable of 18 inches.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            That seems high considering the local gas utility has been replacing gas lines in the neighborhood (largely built in the mid-50s), and I would imagine that active work on natural gas lines is more complicated than laying fiber -- ie, you can't disrupt gas service and you're dealing with a flammable and potentially explosive gas.

            I would imagine that the equipment side of a fiber rollout would have a lot of costs as you would have all the expensive networking gear to deal with, but the actual directional dril

            • Gas service lines are plastic, they can be cut and "welded" in seconds. Even high pressure gas lines they weld them with the gas flowing, they just get a heat shield to keep the welder safe from the heat wave. High Pressure gas is difficult and expensive to relocate but low pressure gas service lines are dirt cheap.

              Digging in any infrastructure is costly because until you dig the hole you don't know whats underneath. As a lay person you might think everyone knows where their utilities are but the reality is

              • by swb ( 14022 )

                They've been directional drilling for what looks like a lot of new pipe. I'm guessing this is an outright replacement program that leaves the old pipe in the ground, so they would have to do all the utility locate you describe.

                • Re:Laying cable (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:54AM (#53154917) Homepage

                  Usually old gas pipe was steel/iron. What they do is push some plastic pipe down the existing pipe, then blow hot air under pressure into it. This causes it to soften and expand so that it takes the form of the existing steel/iron pipe. The existing pipe can now safely rust away. At least this is what they do in the UK.

                • Any utility plan requires locating. You simply don't know where you can even put it without the locating. Depending on the utility there are other utilities they can't be next to, Comunication can't be next to power, sewer can't be next to water, gas can't be near power or Communication, etc... Installing utilities is a VERY involved process.

                  Even with all the safeguard people routinely dig up and cut utilities that they didn't know were there because it wasn't marked right or no one knew it was there. I've

            • I'm running into the same problem trying to get cable modem service to my business. The building currently doesn't have cable service.. The nearest location the cable company can extend service from to wire up our building is only about 1000 ft away, but they're estimating it'll cost them $14.5k. Most of that cost is in drawing up the plans and submitting it to the city so they can get permits to dig up the street to lay down new cable. You don't incur these costs when maintaining existing lines. They
          • The unknown is always the issue. I had my fence replaced awhile back and moved it a bit along the back. So the pipe locating people come out and mark everything. Fence guys get started. Halfway thru as they are digging new holes along the back, I get a knock at the door. "We found something that was not marked". All work stops for about a day while the locator guys are called back, they trace the new unmarked pipe and after a few hours determine it is an abandoned pipe for ? and continue. So fence guys end

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Per house, FTTH costs about $3000 on average to install. $25 per month over ten years. It's a long term investment, but it's far from being unreasonably expensive.

        • Per house, FTTH costs about $3000 on average to install. $25 per month over ten years. It's a long term investment, but it's far from being unreasonably expensive.

          Yeah, sounds good. Say, do you want to use your internet connection of 10 years ago right now?

          No?

          And *that* is the problem. Hopefully fiber gives us enough room to upgrade by only upgrading the stuff on each end, but 10 years is forever in internet time.

          • The copper to some areas in 100 years old. I saw a Ted talk years ago where the presenter was talking about infrastructure upgrades.

            And replacing the copper with fiber would allow lines to last 100 years if not longer. Simply replacing the end points would be all that is needed increase speeds.

    • it's fine as long as you are ok with jay on backhoe rushing to get the job done ripping out all the water, gas, power, etc lines as you don't want to pay to do it the right and legal way.

    • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:51AM (#53153965)

      It took a crew contracted to AT&T about a week to lay fiber alongside the road to our house. That's a distance of maybe 300 meters. I imagine they were working other areas at the same time, but I was amazed that it took so long from start to finish.

      They had to cross one residential street and a lot of driveways. For the driveways, they dug a pit at either side, and used a driver to tunnel underneath. For the street, I think they had to cut a hole in the middle, because it was too far for the driver to bridge in one pass.

      A week or two after they finished, we lost water pressure. They'd damaged a pipe near the other end of the road. A city crew had to roll a backhoe, a dump truck, and a fair number of people to find the leak, excavate it, repair it, and refill it. As I understand it, the contractor who laid the fiber will be billed for that. Either they'll bill it back to AT&T, or they'll roll it into their future rates, or they'll go out of business and the remaining contractors will raise their rates to compensate for the market shift.

      I wish Google had gotten here first. I really don't want to deal with AT&T's data caps and MIM attacks on my traffic, nor do I want to pay many hundreds of dollars a year extra for the privilege of having them behave like a common carrier. So right now, even after AT&T went to the expense of laying fiber practically to our doorstep, I'm not a customer, and they're getting zero return on their investment from me.

      Laying fiber through a developed area is hard and expensive, and the rewards are uncertain.

      • by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:04AM (#53154087)

        Based on this and other responses, plus my own experience with outages, it sounds like what America really needs now is some better methods for tracking where the existing infrastructure is, better standards for placing new infrastructure so that the next crew can put something else in without destroying what's already there, and better laws for determining who's liable when things go wrong.

        Of course, when I say "what America needs now", what I really mean is "what America needed 100+ years ago, when they first started putting these things in".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There's no incentive to make it easier next time. They want the huge "next time" contract. The more stuff they have to tear up, the more they can profit.

        • You sound like you think it's better elsewhere?

          It is not. Europe and Asia has buried infrastructure thousands of years old in some cases. How would you like to be pushing buried fiber in Rome or Hanoi?

          I'm surprised ground penetrating radar isn't in more common use.

          • Ground penetrating radar isn't some sort of magic. Will it find utilities? Yes. Will it find rocks, sticks, lumber, bricks, trash, ancient bones, and absolutely nothing? Also yes and it all looks the same.

        • Recently they buried phone lines under the ground where I live. They put them in pipes, so next time they can just pull whatever wires they need through the pipes, without breaking the ground.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@@@evcircuits...com> on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:12AM (#53154141) Homepage

      It's pretty hard. I only have experience with a metropolitan area network but I suppose home fiber will have a similar cost. For a ~1 mile stretch consider the following:

      a) You have to engineer the way the cables will go where they will terminate, what equipment you'll be using, where you'll be tapping off (fiber to each house or to a central unit).
      b) You have to survey for existing cabling and make sure your installation doesn't encroach upon private property. This could be as easy as dialing a number and getting some plans or as expensive as having a ground radar and doing land surveys.
      c) You usually have to notify and have permits for digging up. Sometimes the city will take it upon themselves, other times you have to do it. Cost of permits and notices to 100 houses
      d) Install tubing, lay cables, 8 people, a backhoe and a dump truck will take a good week or two if all the surveys have been done correctly. Off course if you manage to hit a thing with the backhoe, you could be delayed for a day or two. You still have to pay the construction workers.
      e) Fill the holes and repair side walks, lawns and streets you have broken open. Again, 4-6 people with equipment will take about a week doing that.
      f) Fielding complaints, law suits, talking to locals why you didn't re-plant their lawn Kentucky Blue Grass etc

      And then we haven't talked yet about material cost of lines, piping etc. Our estimates average about $500k/mile with a mix of overhead and underground cabling which isn't expensive since you can easily service 200 houses on a mile stretch. Underground is about 5 times as expensive as overhead. Obviously most of these costs are eventually fully funded by the tax payer (operators pretty much get paid for laying Internet lines) but it's a huge upfront cost and a player like Google won't benefit from grants since it's not really a local political player.

      Last week we had a backhoe operator hit a line twice, the second time he literally ran off and went missing for 3 hours without notifying anyone. Obviously he doesn't work there anymore but it caused a delay of 2 days between fixing the line and finding a new licensed operator and bringing them on site.

      • Why use a backhoe for fiber optic lines? Maybe it's just the soil we have around here, or rather clay, but I've seen crews out using horizontal hydraulic boring equipment laying in 3 inch PVC conduit all over the place. I would guess they still have to do all the planning and much of the other work but you don't need to repair or re-landscape nearly as much stuff that way.

  • by ddtmm ( 549094 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:24AM (#53153779)
    What this means is there really isn't ever going to be any meaningful competition in internet service providers in the foreseeable future. If Google with all it's cash can't feasibly put a competitive service together then no one can. If anything, competition is disappearing, with AT&T/TimeWarner's merger and all. Although we still need to see if that gets approved.
    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:46AM (#53153937)
      Well it may be true that no one can feasibly lay cable in a fiscally competitive way, but that isn't the only way to achieve a competitive marketplace. Redundant cable is really a pretty stupid way to do that - we could always just do what most countries do and implement unbundling access rules. In fact we have those rules on the books already, they were part of the telecommunications act of 1996, they just couldn't be exercised because of the FCC's stupid "third way" decision to classify ISPs as something other than telecommunications services. Now that they've reversed that decision, and once all of the lawsuits regarding that have been resolved, maybe we'll be able to have some competition among ISPs.
    • You do realize that AT&T bought Time Warner the MEDIA company, not the ISP, which Charter purchased.
  • Big party at ATT, COX, Comcast, and more.

    The politicians like to party with there big backers.

  • RANT! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rfengr ( 910026 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:40AM (#53153885)
    Why the fuck could the entire country be electrified (rural electrification), stringing heavy cables to every small town. Why the fuck could the entire country have telephone access (rural telephony), stringing twisted to every small town. Now in the 21st century they can't run a damned glass fiber (cheap compared to copper) in the most dense areas, never mind stringing it along mostly empty telephone poles. Give me a fucking break. I suppose the telcos took the money and run.
    • Re: RANT! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:09AM (#53154115)

      The past is a different country: we just don't like doing things anymore if they're hard and not immediately profitable.

    • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 )

      Because in those situations there was enough political will power to look at those attempting to profit from the situation and tell them to get out of the way.

      Contemporary times are different. Part of that is the collapse of state party machines necessitating multimillion dollar funding for national political presence. Part of that it regulatory capture at both state and federal levels. And part of it has been the disintegration of a middle class that might have the leisure time necessary to parse the topic

    • Because when politicians declare "The era of big government is over", they mean it. And the rubes who follow them fail to understand what that statement really means.

    • Re:RANT! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:53AM (#53154507)

      What did electricity compete with? Darkness and ice deliveries. What does fiber compete with? Services that are already roughly comparable to fiber.

      Who needs electricity? Everyone who doesn't have it. Who needs fiber? A small percentage (10% ?) of people who want to do something a regular cable/DSL 25Mbps connection isn't good enough for -- and who can't already get better service.

      Fiber is an incremental benefit for a smallish subset of people.

      • Only because that subset is artificially limited.

        People don't "need" better internet because the ISPs strangle out the competition. Netflix v Comcast was well documented. AT&T meters all of it's traffic, while zero-rating their own individually purchasable items. The current ISPs are doing everything they can to prevent people from moving into the 21st century of connectivity.

        And that's just talking about today, right now. Give it another 5-10 years, when people are streaming 4k movies in 3D, or wha

        • by Kohath ( 38547 )

          Only because that subset is artificially limited.

          People don't "need" better internet because the ISPs strangle out the competition. Netflix v Comcast was well documented. AT&T meters all of it's traffic, while zero-rating their own individually purchasable items. The current ISPs are doing everything they can to prevent people from moving into the 21st century of connectivity.

          Yes, that's why almost no one uses Netflix and Netflix is going out of business.

          And that's just talking about today, right now. Give it another 5-10 years, when people are streaming 4k movies in 3D, or whatever the "next big thing" is. Should we wait till then to upgrade our infrastructure? Or just let the ISPs keep running through the same 30 year old lines?

          If everyone pre-pays for their next 10 years of broadband bills, I'm sure the ISPs will install the next 10 years of equipment. Other than that, why should they setup anything they don't intend to use in the next year or two?

    • i remember the days of Ma Bell and telephone service used to be expensive. like you rent a cheap phone for a lot of money expensive and pay per minute for local calls and long distance is calling 5 miles away to the next switch or area code. and if you wanted to call across the country to some family member it would be a once a year 10 minute call because it cost a day's wages

      you people are whining because you can't get fiber at a cheap price

      • by rfengr ( 910026 )
        I'd say it's not getting fiber, period. I'm paying $125/month for 100/5 with static IP. I'd pay more for 1000/1000, but it is still unavailable.
    • You're talking about something a bit different, but it still applies IMO. When private industry won't/can't supply what the people want/need, then it is the duty of the government to do so. At least FDR thought so, The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 is why the rural areas finally started getting electricity.

      Municipal ISPs could provide the competition to force Comcrap, ATT, & the rest to improve their service. But that would take electing leaders that actually represent the people.

    • Could it be because we live in a fantasy finance capital, where financialization or financial engineering is king? Still don't have high-speed rail, even thought that dood in the White House promised it to us some years back!
  • This is too bad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:40AM (#53153887) Homepage

    I live in a GF area and love it. There are three tiers, 5 Mbps for $0 (yes, free broadband), 100 Mbps for $70, and 1 Gbps for $90. They have been absolutely bulletproof, the speeds are for real when tested, and the online system and the way that it integrates with their WiFi router is awesome.

    I have had multiple providers over the years, including Comcast and Verizon, and Google Fiber's product and service are easily better than the others.

    If Google can't make this work, there may be no hope for anything better for a long time to come. I just hope I don't lose it here!

  • Even if they built it, how long would they keep running it before killing it like so many of their other failures?

  • by rkhalloran ( 136467 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:50AM (#53153963) Homepage
    Minor advantage, at least here in Jacksonville: the prospect of GF arriving scared AT&T into stringing more fiber. I was able to get it at my place this summer, and already having DirecTV meant no data caps, a lower bill than the combined Comcast/DTV/Vonage bills I had been paying, and a jump from 75/12 Mb to 940 symmetric. And being able to call up Comcast and tell them to DIAF didn't hurt my well-being either. Only problem now is what to do in two years when the contract expires and I won't have GF to threaten them with....
  • by bev_tech_rob ( 313485 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @09:15AM (#53154171)

    FTA....

    Moving into big cities was a contentious point inside Google Fiber, according to one former executive. Leaders like Barratt and Dennis Kish, who runs Google Fiber day-to-day, pushed for the big expansion. Others pushed back because of the prohibitive cost of digging up streets to lay fiber-optic cables across some of America’s busiest cities.

    'Others', as in SHORT SIGHTED 'ACTIVIST' SHAREHOLDERS who want that quarterly price target hit, were the ones who pushed back.

  • The problem with Google's "Everything is Beta" mindset is that they can pull the plug on anything whenever they want.

    I am pretty happy with Fi right now, but I know its just a trial-balloon. Once the hype ends, if it isnt a market-dominating force, they will pull the plug on it.

  • Google seems to be doing business strategy based on whack-a-mole. Try this. Does it work out? Great. Doesn't work out. drop it and try again.
    They where just plain lucky that the first few where a hit and gave them enough money to absorb all the misses. And if you do enough tries, you will hit something eventually.

    So this is just another where the beta program is being discontinued. They will first probably let it bleed dead and then just cancel it all, not even sell it.

  • by rockmuelle ( 575982 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:19AM (#53154667)

    I'd be surprised, but this is such a common pattern with Google/Alphabet (which I will refer to as Google for the rest of this post) when they try anything that's not Ad/Search related that it's more of a *meh*.

    Google Health, that Energy project that they seem to have wiped from search results, Google+, Google Glass, and so on. They put a huge amount of upfront capital into these projects and hype to hell out of them only to abandon them when they realize that it takes effort to build new, ground breaking businesses. Not everything will be handed to them like ads/search was. From that I can tell, it also seems to be a function of internal champions - one person drives these projects and when they lose interest, the projects die.

    From the tech eco-system's perspective, this is frustrating. As soon as Google announces one of these projects, everyone assumes they'll succeed and competition is stifled. Investors don't want to compete against Google. I run a genomic informatics company. Google Genomics is making noise in this space and every time we talk to investors or customers, we inevitably spend 5-10 minutes talking about Google. My stock response is to walk them through Google's past efforts with non-Ad/Search products and ask them if they're willing to risk Google losing interest.

    Google has an important place in the tech world, but they still act like a tween trying to fit in.

    -Chris

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @10:39AM (#53154795)

    It seems like more and more over the years, nothing from Google is immune from abandonment syndrome.

    It's like the guy who came with with Google Fiber did it as a 20% project and decided recently VR was cooler. "Sell off the trencher Fran, I'm getting' a Vive!"

    If it's anything but placing ads for search I'm not sure I would trust Google with anything again. I host my domain mail with Google and frankly I'm thinking about shifting away from them for that...

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Agree, never host anything critical with Google, and never pay for anything that you will be upset if they discontinue.

      I do use gmail, which seems pretty safe from cancellation, but even there I keep my own domain name so I can switch it at a moment's notice if Google decides to drop it like so many past products.

  • ... is unlike most other businesses. Certainly nothing like Internet content and service providers. You not only have to make significant up front capital investments, you have to spend money on operations, maintenance and repair. And that means significant staffs of direct employees plus lots of equipment standing by to do storm recovery or chase backhoe digups. Companies that have tried to contract these things out have failed miserably. Companies like Google will inevitably get tired of spending money o

  • Google Succeeded as far as I'm concerned. Their initial point wasn't the fact that GOOGLE could do it, it was the fact that ISPs across the country were not being honest about how much bandwidth really cost. While it may not quite be at the same $75-ish price point of Google Fiber, there are now countless companies who have done massive upgrades to their networks to support FTTH in markets that were previously uncompetitive, even ones Google was't even eying. Where I live, CenturyLink used to offer only 3mb

  • Typical Google. Plans are written in pencil and can be erased at any time. Always, always have a backup when dealing with Google. To rely solely on them is to be disappointed at some point in time.

  • What they need to do is approach netflix and amazon and get them to invest in this as well. In doing that, they would gain investments rather than spend billions paying ATT and other CLECs, cable TV, etc.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @11:34AM (#53155231)
    I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the USA. Like pretty much all US metro areas, the number of people who actually live within the city limits of the major city we are named for is a lot lower than then entire metro area. Roughly 10% of the metro residents live with the city limits and 90% live outside it. In fact, the county where I live has more than double the population of the city itself, but no parts of my county are within the city limits. Google negotiated a deal with the city only in our metro area to keep their costs down. So nobody in my county can get Google fiber. The problem with Google's deal is that they didn't study the demographics here. Very roughly speaking, there are only two kinds of people who live within city limits because of outrageous property prices - the very poor and the very rich. The poor don't buy Google fiber. The rich can afford whatever they want to pay so there's no real reason for them to get Google fiber unless they really want to. Google advertises a surprising amount on local TV. Well, I'd love to be a customer, Google, but you didn't want to deal with my county, so you're out of luck. Maybe if you had instead offered it to my entire county instead of only the metro's city limits, you'd have had more business. Believe me, many of us would love to leave Comcast and AT&T but they are the only games where we live.
  • I used to not be too afraid of Google's technological dominance, but this is great evidence that Alphabet's well on it's way to becoming the full-on Umbrella Corp... They seem to only employee engineers and project leads who don't live in the real world, and lack a certain amount of common sense.

    Laying cable is hard. And you can't just charge everyone marginal costs on physical operations.

    Sometimes you can't software your way out of something.

  • they would have utterly owned the market by doing that . Comcast and Time warner love to abuse small towns so they would have had a instant high percentage uptake.

  • . . . to mention something appropriate to this topic, namely Google, and other tech companies, and their hiring procedures.

    We've been reading for years on, on this site and others, about the stringent interview/tests required for Google applicants (and I used to hear the same thing about Micro$oft, etc.), yet nothing brilliant has come out of that company beyond their search engine --- yes, they've purchased the occasional company and added its innovations to their arsenal, but nothing particularly crea

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"

Working...