A recent article in Business2.0 claims that Google is building a massive network in order to give people free wireless. This article is a total puff piece. It's true that Google has been buying dark fiber networks for the past year but the assertion that it's for free wi-fi is groundless.
I believe Google is buying networks for two reasons:
- To reduce its bandwidth costs, not for searching but for indexing. Every month Google crawls every single web page in it's index. I believe this bandwidth load is as great if not greater then it's search traffic. Having a distributed network would reduce bandwidth costs for both indexing and searching.
- The second reason is to increase search speed and indexing speed. Google has always been relentless about the speed that it can return results. I believe it is hitting limits from the server side, by building it's own fiber network it can increase the speed that it both indexes and the speed that it returns results.
Google is way more likely to enter the hosting market where it would be able to easily index files with no bandwidth cost. It would instantly know when documents are updated and therefore keep it’s own results far more up to date.