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Sitemap Sep-Archive-05 Secure Wireless Access from GoogleNet Broadband Plans

Secure Wireless Access from GoogleNet Broadband Plans  
Google wants another crack at your entire internet traffic. Releasing the new Google Secure Access wireless software called ‘GoogleNet’ while also taking bids for a US nationwide optical fiber network.

Five months after announcing its first Google-branded hot spots, covering San Francisco's Union Square and main public library, Google is enhancing the service. The ad giant briefly made a beta of a proxy server, called Google Secure Access, available for limited download at:, before withdrawing the link. The proxy is intended to protect 802.11 wireless users at Google hot spots from casual packet sniffing. But it also gives the ad broker the advantage of knowing what you're looking at, and exactly where you are geographically - a huge advantage to its core advertising business.

Unlike true anonymizing proxies, however, Google said it will retain certain information for research purposes. Anonymizing proxies, such as Anonymizer, offer rather more sophisticated protection and the reassurance that the proxy maintainer can't read the network traffic - at least in theory. You could call it Google's ‘No Packet Left Behind’ strategy. In addition to collecting your Google search queries and correlating them with your Google GMail e-mail account, the proxy gives Google access to all your internet traffic.

Google's explicit strategy is to develop A Google that knows more about you, in the words of CEO Eric Schmidt. And the only way we can think of for Google get to know more about you than funneling all your internet traffic through Google servers, is for Eric Schmidt himself to camp out in your bathroom 24 hours a day.

Given his busy schedule, and the fact there are so many of you, that is unlikely!

Google's Garden
It is the second proxy project that Google has unveiled this year. The first, Google Web Accelerator, was withdrawn after a few days. Many users discovered they could spoof other web forum users with the IE plug-in. The Web Accelerator also generated some fascinating speculation that Google was attempting to create a ‘walled garden’ or a net within the net.

Advocates suggested that GoogleNet could offer dramatic performance increases for ordinary internet users if rolled out on a large scale. The model is gaining favor for another reason: as a response to copyright concerns. PlayLouder MSP in the U.K. and Mashboxx in the U.S. will offer a ‘walled garden’ which prohibits some user behavior in return for the assurance that music files can be freely exchanged.

Nevertheless, ordinary users care little for such abstractions as the end to end principle and which TCP/IP ports are open - while a network that permits users to share music freely - free from legal threats, spyware and restrictive DRM, and with the moral assurance that artists are being paid - has obvious attractions for the market. In this sense, Google is tipping its toes into how future computer networks might work - it certainly has the power to move the market with it.

Which leaves us in little doubt that Google deadly serious about network infrastructure, and is thinking not only beyond search but even beyond the web, too.

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