Google has launched Fi; a “network of networks” which works with “carriers, hardware makers and [Google’s] users” to “deliver a fast, easy wireless experience”. Essentially, it’s Google’s own attempt at a mobile network (running off partnered carriers) which also brings in WiFi connectivity.
Google is a very innovative company. From Google Glass to Project Loon, Google Fibre to Google Domains, the tech giant has it’s hands full with different projects, and plenty of money to fund them. Fi is the latest project to be announced by the big G and it could cause a real shift in the way we connect.
Seamless, Wireless Connections
In this weeks TechTuesday blog I made the bold statement that eventually “every communication will take place via the Internet, relying on mobile data and WiFi only”. Google’s Project Fi sounds like it could be the answer to that, as it seamlessly jumps between partnered carriers and WiFi hotspots, depending on which provides the strongest connection. That’s how networks should be. Customers shouldn’t have to have to fiddle with making a separate account for and manually connecting to WiFi hotspots, they shouldn’t have to turn off WiFi if the connection is poor in order to swap to mobile data, it should all just happen.
Also, any data/calls/texts routed through a public WiFi hotspot is encrypted, to ensure your information is hidden from prying eyes – another thing customers should have to worry about.
Better still, Fi numbers are stored in the cloud, meaning you can send/receive texts/calls or check voicemail from any device that works with Hangouts (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Chromebook), through WiFi or the mobile network. This is the perfect answer to my Hangouts blog (posted the day before Project Fi’s announcement) where I stated, “From [cross-platform Google Hangouts] apps and websites users should be able to send text messages or run calls via both the Internet or mobile networks“.
If you’re in a call that’s running over WiFi but you move into an area where the 4G network would provide a better connection, you are effortlessly swapped without it interrupting your call. You needn’t even think about it.
Part of me even wonders if Google Fibre and Project Fi will join together to eventually offer a one-stop shop for all your Internet access? Google Fibre?
Fairer, Simpler Price
Google has also knocked off many of the financial nasties that carriers are known for, providing a fairer (& cheaper) service than its alternatives.
- $20 for the “Fi Basics” – unlimited domestic calls/texts, unlimited international texts, Wi-Fi tethering
- Low cost international calls
- $10 per GB of data allowance (domestic & international)
- Refunds on unused data
- No ugly contracts
- Phones come unlocked – leave the network hassle-free if you want too
- Manageable from an app with 24/7 support
In theory, you’ll never pay a roaming charge ever again. Carriers have been making a large profit off of holiday makers, business travelers and international relations, but Fi should push them to drop that. Texts to/from 120+ countries are included in your price plan, so is data. International calls are offered at low rates, but in theory, if you’re using a Hangouts/Skype video calls or WhatsApp voice calls over data/WiFi, you won’t pay a single roaming fee.
Google Fi is US only at the moment, but I can’t wait for it to come to the UK. It has so much going for it. Fair, simple and & seamless – the way networks, and all technology, should be. Current carriers are going to face some stiff competition and will need to quickly change their strategies and become a lot fairer if they want to keep up, especially now that Google is on the case – a company that’s notably better liked than most carriers.
As for now, here are the features that Google Hangouts needs.