Daily DigVid Review: Google Wants White Spaces
Google co-founder Larry Page traveled to D.C. to meet with lawmakers over using the so-called ”white spaces” in the DTV spectrum to help blanket the country with wi-fi. MSTV, NAB and others immediately opposed Page’s proposals, saying that giving Google et al free use of the white spaces will most certainly cause interference.
Here’s a video of Page addressing the New America Foundation — of which Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt will become chairman of the board in the next few weeks — about his plans. It’s no Denise Richards: It’s Complicated, but it is hearing the plan from the horse’s mouth.
This fight over spectrum has gone on practically since the moment we knew spectrum existed and what it was good for. The bottom line is that TV broadcasters don’t want to share their spectrum. The fact that Congress actually finally got broadcasters to relinquish their analog spectrum is still somewhat of a miracle to me — I was always pretty sure that broadcasters would figure out a way to keep both the analog and the digital spectrum without having to pay for either.
If what Google is proposing does in fact interfere, then, of course, it shouldn’t be allowed. If it doesn’t interfere, however, allowing it should be seriously considered. Broadcasters are sitting on a very broad swath of spectrum. Perhaps sharing it can help advance nationwide wireless broadband, which I believe is in everyone’s best interest. However, I don’t believe that means Google, Microsoft, etc., should get to use the spectrum for free. If it’s so valuable, all of those players have more than enough cash to pay for it and they should.
Still, the U.S. is in 15th place worldwide in terms of broadband adoption, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with countries such as Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Korea and Luxembourg all surpassing us. What’s more, we’re down from fourth place in 2001. Initiatives like the one Google is proposing might solve this problem.
In non-Google news, ABC.com will unveil a new version of its full-episode player this fall. The new version will feature a redesigned user interface (although they one they have now is one of the best around, IMHO); true full-screen viewing; enhanced navigation abilities; more powerful video search capabilities; content-sharing tools that will allow users to send and share video links by email or through embedding them on Web sites, social-network pages or blogs; content-recommendation tools; closed captioning; and parental ratings. The new player will allow viewers to watch ABC shows in standard or high definition, and they will continue to be able to launch the player off of ABC.com, affiliate sites, portals, social networks, and video-aggregator sites.
Finally, as everyone starts drifting off for the long weekend, here are a couple of cool things to check out: Discovery will launch its “When We Left Earth” series in high-definition on Sunday, June 8. The series converted much of the film on space missions into HD, and wrapped them up with interviews from astronauts and other cool stuff. Space geeks, start your TiVos!
And, like the little kid that I am, I always love it when I’m surprised by a new Google logo. Today’s was designed by the national winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest: Grace Moon of Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley, Calif.