Cell phone plans currently can cost families and even individuals more than $100 a month between the initial cell phone line, additional lines, and the data plans that so many carriers require. Recently, Google launched its own wireless network called Google Fi. Google claims that Fi will be able to improve phone service and reduce customers’ costs by using WiFi and other cost effective measures to minimize both its own costs and the costs to the customer.
Initially, Google is teaming up with T-Mobile and Sprint to provide purchased network access. Currently only a select number of consumers will be able to use the invite-only service. In addition, Google is using both e-mail and zip code filters to determine good candidates to first use the service. Right now, Google Fi only available on Google Nexus 6 smartphones.
Google Fi will soon have the flexibility to allow customers to create a phone that fits their individual needs. Too often today, experts determine what features to include in phones to cater to the masses, but Google has realized that each consumer has unique tastes, and would benefit immensely from having a phone that is customized to their preferences. Additionally, the joint carrier plan between Sprint and T-Mobile will offer greater cell phone signal coverage to those who prefer the lower cost of these carriers and Google’s new service as opposed to Verizon and AT&T, who generally have more expensive plans but better coverage.
This development is just the beginning of widespread, cost-effective phone coverage. Google’s long term model will allow consumers to have more fully customizable phones with better signal and more coverage. The integration of Google apps like Maps, Calendar, Chrome, and GMail give Android users a strong competitor to Apple’s iCloud integration which includes iCal, Mail, and Safari.
Despite the many benefits, skeptics are quick to point out a few downsides of this new technology. Using this new framework, Google would now have full access to all of your smartphone actions – locations, phone calls, emails, and more. Although your information is always out there-whether through Google or a traditional phone carrier–Google uses a lot of the information that it collects to display targeted advertisements. Furthermore, Google’s integration with Waze has been a recent topic of discussion in regard to police safety.
Google’s new service seeks to revolutionize both the cell phone and wireless Internet markets by providing more access at a lower cost and giving consumers more freedom instead of abiding by the strict rules of current cell phone contracts, typically 2 years with limited warranty. Google’s hope is to convert consumers to their low cost platform, even skeptics who may feel that their privacy is being compromised. As more and more people use smart phones and smart technologies this may be less of the exception and more of the norm.