Google possibly turning fictional parallel Internet into reality

While I'm a big fan of Google and self-fulfilling prophecy, I never imagined the two could exist within the same realm. But according to what I've read recently on multiple websites, the online giant is taking aim potentially at connecting web users through an Internet portal similar to the one I've described in my latest novel, "The Developers."

As reported by Business 2.0, Google has been purchasing unused fiber-optic cable around the country. This has led the magazine's correspondent to predict that Google might be preparing to offer Wi-Fi and other ISP-related services nationwide, possibly even for free. The author calls the potential project GoogleNet. On top of that, Google has joined forces with an Internet startup company in San Francisco, Feeva, to offer Wi-Fi hotspots in that city, which one would expect could grow to other metropolitan areas as well.

I'm not going so far as to claim this is precisely the idea I used for the Super Information Portal in my book. But I think you'll agree there are more similarities than differences when comparing the two, along with a little more theory behind how something like this could exist in the U.S.

For those of you not familiar with my book (at least, the part that doesn't have anything to do with bingo, black mini-skirts and Richard Simmons), The Developers, a web development company in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, has the opportunity to join forces with another technology firm and the United States government to build the Super Information Portal (SIP). The SIP will allow ordinary home users improved speed and performance through their existing ISPs by tacking on an extra dollar or two a month. The infrastructure, however, will be owned by the government and come across as an Internet tax of sorts, although it will be a fraction of the overall Internet service cost.

As you can see, the big difference is instead of a private entity like Google running the parallel Internet, I surmise the government would attempt to tackle it. But regardless of how it is set up, the usefulness would be eerily similar. The data for all of the users could be housed in a central location, which could then be used for target advertisements based on a person's location or particular preferences. While I predict minor adjustments will have to be made on government-collected data, with an outside company building the system, this may not even be necessary.

The characters in my book bounce back in forth about actually wanting to work on a project of this magnitude, citing reserving a place in the Internet's history versus visions of George Orwell's "1984" and an individual's right to privacy.

There's no sure thing that Google is actually heading in this direction. But if the company is, indeed, preparing for a parallel Internet, it will be interesting to see what will be free and what will paid for with personal information.