Google is laying the groundwork to offer television service, part of an ever-expanding competition with multi-platform communications providers.
The Mountain View, Calif-based company is seeking approval to offer TV service in Kansas City, Mo., where it filed video service applications under review by the Missouri Public Service Commission. It’s the same region where Google is building high-speed Internet service, and where Time Warner Cable already provides bundled services.
The move paves the way for a Google-branded paid TV service, and the service could launch within the next several months, according to reports. Google is also reportedly in negotiations with companies like Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery about distributing their content, according to the Kansas City Star.
If Google succeeds in its experiment, it would be the first Internet-centered corporation to make the leap into providing cable-like services, pitting it against cable companies as well as beefing up its credentials as an entertainment player.
Combined with Android and other software products and moves into hardware development, Google’s recent forays into Internet and TV suggest the search engine pioneer is setting it sights on becoming a multi-platform one-stop Internet and digital shop of unprecedented reach.
The search engine’s subsidiary, Google Fiber, made the Missouri filings, in addition to constructing the fiber optic cables in Missouri and Kansas that would deliver high-speed Internet service. These cables run 100 times faster than what’s available, according to rumors.
Though details are vague at this time, Google’s video service would be provided through IPTV, which transmits through Internet as opposed to traditional land-based, satellite or cable formats.
Google is in the midst of sharpening its competitive edge in nearly all communications realms, from devices to social networking and now, TV service. Prior to the news of video service applications, plans for Google’s entertainment hardware suggested a strategy to compete with Apple by delivering entertainment services straight to the home.
Its $12.5 billion Motorola acquisition, which gives Google ownership to thousands of patents as well as a seasoned product maker, also offers opportunities for more inventive hardware production.
Although the Kansas City region is a test market for Google Fiber, and the company says it has no intentions of starting a national Internet network, the projects are groundbreaking developments from a business perspective. Adding television services to an ever-growing list of Google’s products could boost the corporation’s reputation as an innovator — and the potential for offering TV and Internet bundling offers a new stream of revenue.
Google will face inevitable competition from established regional markets. In Kansas City, cable TV provider Time Warner could be forced to change its pricing, or increase efficiency of its existing networks if Google’s technology surpasses it. The cable TV industry overall will be eyeing Google’s progress closely, especially as it struggles to keep pace as broadband and wireless companies encroach upon its territory.
Longtime rivals Apple and Microsoft are sure to take note as they come up with their own ways to broaden their options for millions of consumers.
Google Fiber could be a game-changer for the communications industry, and if Google is successful in other entertainment-related products, Google Fiber could drastically shift priorities for the search giant. But potential success is sure to draw fire from existing regional providers fearing competition, as well as free market advocates who may express concern over one of the world’s most powerful companies challenging a new market.