Saturday’s edition of The New York Times featured an article about whether the massive bandwidth of Google Fiber is really making a difference. A couple of the services provided by Avid Communications over Google Fiber were mentioned deep in the article. “Two Cities with Blazing Internet Speed Search for a Killer App.”
The reporter seems to be searching for something more glamorous than what has currently emerged. It reminds me of an old boss of mine at Sprint who years ago envisioned a service that would allow him to watch a 3-D holographic image of an Ohio State football game played on his living room coffee table. Perhaps this is coming soon, and I imagine the Google Fiber network would support it. And that The New York Times will cover it.
But this discussion also reminds me of one of my favorite technology quotes from Mark Weiser: “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” Measured against this, I do believe that Google Fiber makes the grade.
For instance, using Avid’s fiber-based virtual private network (VPN) service, clients can now efficiently work from home. The promise of telecommuting has finally arrived, but in a way that makes it seem like no big deal.
Before Google Fiber, business applications that worked well on the local area network (LAN) in the office would break down when accessed over a VPN setup. The home connection would run over a cable-TV Internet service, generally plagued by slow, inconsistent upstream connections. This weak link would render the application unusable. I experienced this frequently when trying to use our FileMaker Pro database running on a server i our office. Connecting from home was a miserable experience.
With Google Fiber, the upstream connection speed rivals that of the office LAN itself, and is therefore no longer an impediment.
So when I need to take care of something on a Sunday and I can quickly log into my FileMaker database from home, I’m grateful for the hour or more that I can save by telecommuting. Or when I need to work late, but now that means coming home on time to play with the kids and put them to bed before getting the work done. Is all of this glamorous? No. Do I consider it profound? Yes I do.