Google defends itself from charges of bandwidth theft, world domination plans

Precursor LLC, a research firm backed by the telecom giants including AT&T and Verizon, is unsurprisingly throwing punches at Google. The search-engine-turned-everything is charged by Precursor as using 21 times the bandwidth than it pays for, and claims Google accounts for 16.5% of all consumer traffic in the US this year. "Internet connections could be more affordable for everyone if Google paid its fair share of the Internet's cost," the report stated.

Well, Google says Precursor's got it all backwards, and here's why: Google isn't the only one using its services, we all are. How many times did you do a Google search within the last hour? Or check your Gmail? Or keep up with your bills on Google Docs? Hell, I used Google to find the images necessary to create the graphic above. During those times, Google suggests, we're using our own bandwidth that we've already paid for.

In the company's defense, Richard Whitt posted this on Google's Public Policy Blog:

It's the consumers voluntarily choosing to use our applications who are actually using their own broadband bandwidth — not Google. To say that Google somehow "uses" consumers' home broadband connections shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Internet actually works.

Ouch! Still, with Google rolling out its own web browsers, cell phone interfaces — and even threatening to unleash a fully featured Google operating system — is there any burden the company should bear as an enabler, or is it all fair business? Are we just looking at sour ISPs that want someone to squeeze?

Google Public Blog, via Computer World