Google wants to patent flexible communication technology
Google continues to expand its areas of interest with a new connection-switching service, revealed in a patent application. Its new idea is a system that automatically switches between various networks and even internet service providers depending on the needs and location of the user. The patent application was filed in March 2007 and has now been made public. The technology would make it possible to switch seamlessly from one service provider to another during an active data or voice connection.
The idea is that increasing numbers of different connection methods tends to confuse users, making them consider each different type of communication as a different application. As the boundaries between different media blur – for instance, a voice link can also be used to carry data – users have increasing problems unifying their communications. For example, at home, many people use a landline for phone calls and DSL for the internet. On the move, they make voice calls on one or even several cellphones, but use a PDA for email and the web. Each of these services is likely to be from a different service provider.
To solve this problem, Google's developers see a smart wireless device, able to run various programs in order to establish a connection. One module would test signal strength and compare pricing across all services available to it – GSM, 3G, WiFi, Wimax, Bluetooth and so on – and select a provider.
In order for the device to find the best deal, service providers would have to make pricing available as well as signal quality – effectively broadcasting it as a bid. In the event that several offers were available, the device described in the patent would be able to find the best one. If the user were to set their device always to find the most cost-effective connection, an automatic bidding war between service providers would happen, so the user received the cheapest available deal.
For observers of this market sector, the application gains extra significance in the light of Google's activities in the mobile communications market – not the least of which is its promotion of its Android cellphone OS. While Google didn't purchase frequencies in the 700MHz band in the recent US government auction, it was able to open a frequency block, including part of the spectrum acquired by Verizon Wireless. Mobile telephone users can already use a range of service providers to save connection fees by selecting a provider with the help of call-by-call least-cost-routing software installed on the handset, such as the offerings from Cellity and gooberCall.