Here´s a view of how Google will make Youtube disappear. Personally, I don´t agree that that will be the case. Indeed, if I had to guess I would not be surprised that Google Video will do to Youtube what Google WiFi did with FON, and that is to establish a healthy competition with an internal project and an external one which Google partly or wholly owns. And, surprisingly, the internal project may very well lose and yet not dissapear.

Google invested a lot of money and promotional efforts with Google Video, a product which I personally use and like, even though it has much less traction than Youtube. But now that Google has bought Youtube, it has not announced that it will close Google Video. It will instead have two competing projects, one internal and one external and that is, in my view, the safe way to go and gain more market share. The same is true with WiFi. In the case of FON, the largest WiFi community in the world, which I manage, Google is both an investor in FON and at the same time has an internal WiFi project competing with us that is managed by Chris Sacca.

By any measure, FON is beating Google´s internal WiFi efforts. Last week alone FON got orders for 4000 access points around the world, while Google has not been able to install WiFi in its home town of San Francisco, let alone the rest of the world. Still I understand and appreciate Google´s dual formula of supporting both Muni WiFi and FON. Google is too big a company to give up on Muni WiFi, even though Chris himself has been publicly complaining about Google´s inability to get it going thanks to the bureaucracy involved. In the end, what´s best for Google and for all internet users who love WiFi is that, at least, one or possibly both formulas succeed.

So Larry, Sergey and Eric are in my view doing the right thing and that is to let projects that occupy huge spaces in the internet compete with each other and not bet the (server) farm on one of them.

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WiFi Fan on October 24, 2006  · 

Martin, Google operates a citywide free network in Mountain View, CA. The entire city has FREE WiFi available to them 24/7.

While you claim to be selling access points, they are not creating clouds of access at all and please don’t try to claim that anyone is making any money by sharing their connection.

FON is a joke. You would be better off taking all that money you raised and giving it to CUWin or Roofnet or some other group that actually understands the space.

3.0 rating

Carlos Ituarte on October 24, 2006  · 


I agree its a good strategy to have two businesses in the market. We have seen them for many years in other industries.

Surfing the net and my rss reader (Thanks Martin, I been using it a lot more since your comment in class) I came up with this article (Will the “Long Tail” Work for Hollywood?), which you may find interesting. I think its what you tube business model is all about.

The address for the article is:

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Martin Varsavsky on October 24, 2006  · 

WiFi Fan,

If Fon is a joke calling Mountain View a city with all respect to the people who live there is a joke. Indeed having been there I am sure that even the people who live in Mountain View would be ashamed of calling Mountain View a city. Madrid is a city, Paris is a city, Seoul is a city, Berlin is a city, New York is a City, Mountain View mi querido Wifi Fan, is a pueblito. Fon got orders for over 5000 foneras last week alone around the world. We will deploy 100K access points around the world in the next 120 days. In any case if you give me your real name I will be happy to bet you $100 that Fon will beat Google WiFi or any other WiFi effort in the world in the next 120 days as measured by globally installed access points.

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Ragu Sivanmalai on October 25, 2006  · 

While reading this article I want to invite users for a discussion in my blog

Can google get Gods mind?

This was one argument in 2004.I want to validate this argument with diverse opionions by comparing the current trends of google like the one which is described in the post above

Come on Google users

3.0 rating

RBA on October 27, 2006  · 

Martin, Mountain View *is* a city. It is officilly the “City of Mountain View”. It is not the “town of Mountain View” nor the “village of Mountain View”.

Atherton is oficially a town, Mountain View is oficially a city. Why would a resident of Mountain View be ashamed of that? You may be trying to make a point about size, but regardless, your “shame” comment is somewhat out of line, Martin, because towns eventually may get promoted to city status for a number of reasons and becoming a “city” means a lot more than “we’re bigger than before” and I can see why a resident of a town newly promoted to city is something to be proud of.

I’m sorry to say that this wasn’t the kind of answer I would expect from you, honestly.

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Martin Varsavsky on October 27, 2006  · 

Long live Mountain View!!!!!!!!

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Dave on October 28, 2006  · 

Isn’t the right comparison between FON and Linksys, or FON and Netgear? I mean, they’re your real competitors, right?

Because when I walk my neighborhood, the number of open, free access points dwarfs the number of FON nodes I see (exactly 0). FON nodes are identical to these open access points, except that I have to log in to the network to use them, and I end up paying money to use them!

The free wi-fi which is the default for most people is your actual competitor, not Google, or Boingo, or T-mobile, or anyone else for that matter.

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on November 2, 2006  · 

Thanks Gabriel, and indeed we are working on that. They are almost ready.

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