Wild Blue, Google Partner For Portals
[Satellite News – 1-4-08] A partnership signed with Google in December will provide WildBlue with an invaluable way of getting its name out to the public while at the same time helping Google to further relationships with satellite operators, an industry analyst said.
The agreement, announced Dec. 17, gives WildBlue users personalized homepages using Google Web services. Customers will receive email through GMail, which offers users 50 times as much storage space as WildBlue currently offers, as well as using calendars, instant messaging and Web creation tools. WildBlue’s homepage will also use gadgets to feature news, weather, sports and entertainment.
“Google is interested in promoting alternative forms of access, because the more competition in access the more popular they’ll be,” Tim Farrar, president of TMF Associates, said. “It fits with their overall strategy of enhancing competition.”
WildBlue offers Internet access to customers in rural areas who are out of the reach of cable or DSL services. As the Internet continues to become more data intensive, it also becomes less accessible to many consumers and small businesses whose only alternative to accessing the Internet today is through a dial-up connection.
Ed Knudson, WildBlue’s vice president of sales and marketing, said WildBlue wants to essentially be the next America Online, providing everything a Web surfer might need in one place. “We wanted to provide a vehicle to enable [customers] to access more of the Internet,” he said. “It opens some new applications and new functionality; Google documents, Web-based applications that give word processing and spreadsheets. The Google suite of apps is a pretty comprehensive suite of products that we think goes together very well.”
One of WildBlue’s biggest problems is getting the word out about their services, Farrar said, and that’s something that linking with Google can help with. “People aren’t really aware that they’re the main competitor to DSL and cable, this will get their name more widely known,” he said.
Google, on the other hand, will benefit from attracting users who might not have been able to access features that would run slowly or not at all on low-bandwidth dial-up networks. "We’re pleased WildBlue can now provide members with a rich set of Google email, calendaring, collaboration and personalized homepage services," Stephen Cho, product management director for Google Syndication Products, said in a release. "We think WildBlue’s customers will enjoy discovering these new and exciting opportunities to find, share and interact on the Web."
WildBlue plans to have the personalized homepages available by early February.