By Chris Olsen, Founder of FINDitKC
Most of us can’t quite comprehend what Thursday’s Google Fiber announcement could really mean for the Kansas City community. In the past year I have had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of small business owners and consumers about the Google Fiber project. Some balk at its significance, others bought into video because of it, and some downright are reluctant to see this as anything other than an opportunity for Google to take over and monopolize the world of internet. The latter is generally people who are afraid of competition.
Are we really okay with the status quo growth of internet speeds the past decade? As Google’s CFO, Patrick Pichette illustrated in his presentation announcing the future of fiber as a technical and tech savvy society, we have grown exponentially in amount of cloud storage and internet usage in the past decade. However, internet speed has shown only modest growth. The now competitors of Google Fiber, like Time Warner, AT&T and Comcast have always said, “Oh it is too expensive to run fiber, and by that matter the public doesn’t even care about that fast of internet. They are content where they are…” (by the way, that isn’t really a quote, I am paraphrasing). But could that be it is because we have never really experienced it? I mean, driving cars got us from point A to point B just fine… until we experienced how fast jets could get us there. Four channels on the tube were fine, until we experienced hundreds. And finally, heading to Blockbuster to rent movies was enough, until we experienced Netflix.
I believe this is another one of those moments. The data consumption of the average American is extraordinary (and if you observe the younger generations, it is astonishing). My three year old can adjust to changes in her iPad and learn apps faster than I can, and I consider myself pretty dang savvy!
Yes, SOME are reluctant to change, but others (and I would argue MOST), are willing to welcome Google’s new fiber project with open arms. Imagine being able to use your TV to search the net for a new place to eat, being able to watch a video about that same restaurant in an instant, instead of waiting on buffering. Imagine being able to share videos and images instantly on your Facebook or Twitter. This is where we will be. We can’t even begin to explain or understand what this could mean for our KC community, let alone business. The tech industry should explode and media consumption will grow exponentially. It will be that much easier to FIND things.
I know many business owners understand and see this because we have seen an increase in clients who want to be found. People are telling us the potential impact that Google Fiber may have is the reason they want to sign up with FINDitKC. They know more people will be searching the ‘net (especially since Google is offering nearly free service to many residents in KCK and KCMO).
I know that as a media company that helps other companies increase visibility online, FINDitKC will absolutely benefit from Google Fiber. In fact, the local video search talked about packages with Google Fiber’s TV platform could change our business forever. Imagine being able to search for local shops right there on your TV. Our channel will be able to provide true local content from the business owners who make KC tick.
I hope that you all will join me in saying “Thank you, Google!” for pushing the limits. “Thank you, Google!” for giving Kansas City the opportunity to prove to the world that we aren’t a flyover and that we understand technology and will embrace this thing. “Thank you, Google!” for understanding that we are a community who will believe it as we see it and delivering. And finally, “Thank you, Google!” for keeping fiber not only affordable, but for giving EVERYONE the opportunity to experience the internet (FOR NEARLY FREE).
Now, wait and see how our video centered approach to showoff Kansas City businesses takes off. We all deserve to be seen and heard, and Google just gave Kansas City a louder voice. I can’t wait to live in a “fiberhood.” Thank you Google!