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Cellphones Communications Handhelds Networking Patents IT

Patents Show Google Fi Was Envisioned Before the iPhone Was Released 31

smaxp writes: Contrary to reports, Google didn't become a mobile carrier with the introduction of Google Fi. Google Fi was launched to prove that a network-of-networks serves smartphone users better than a single mobile carrier's network. Patents related to Google Fi, filed in early 2007, explain Google's vision – smartphones negotiate for and connect to the fastest network available. The patent and Google Fi share a common notion that the smartphone should connect to the fastest network available, not a single carrier's network that may not provide the best performance. It breaks the exclusive relationship between a smartphone and a single carrier. Meanwhile, a story at BostInno points out that Google's not the only one with a network-hopping hybrid approach to phone calls.
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Patents Show Google Fi Was Envisioned Before the iPhone Was Released

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  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @05:51PM (#49548267) Homepage

    ...and it's all thanks to Google Fi.

    Unless it isn't, in which case, damn you Google Fi.

    • Before the iPhone we were not primitives. They were smart phones years before the iPhone was released. The big players was Blackberry and a slew of windows mobile phones, and Palm. They had a keyboard you could browse the web you could even get apps, and watch videos. Android OS was in development. But the idea of smart phones were all centered around a full keyboard and some sort of pointing device. The key features where there. So it would make sense for Google to look for ways to improve bandwidth withou

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @05:51PM (#49548271) Homepage
    but really good article. I would love to have a plan where it simply works on all different wireless spectrum. even short range (walkie talkie) tech when possible. If the phone knew how to switch from one to the other without dropping calls that would be simply awesome for everyone (except for cell carriers)
    • by Adriax ( 746043 )

      Voip modified to support stream handoff.
      If a handset gets a new network signal (wifi or just a better 3g/4g connection) with a higher priority, it could sign into the voip servers over the new connection without killing the other session and schedule a stream handoff from the lower priority connection to the new one.
      Basically what a cell signal already does when a user moves between towers, but Over The Internet. So probably already patented by 30 different companies.

      This is why I would love to see a cheap

      • by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2015 @07:45PM (#49548719) Journal

        Basically what a cell signal already does when a user moves between towers, but Over The Internet. So probably already patented by 30 different companies.

        This is why I would love to see a cheap data only service. There is no reason for smartphones to have dedicated voice/text service when it could all be taken care of by a data connection and a VoIP provider.

        This is why cheap data service can't exist right now.

        Someone has to build the towers, string the cables, install the radios and antennas. Someone has to change the oil in the genset, and (depending) rotate out the diesel. Someone has to maintain the aircraft warning lamp. Someone has to handle ESD (lightning) damage. And still, someone has to deal with farmers and their backhoes.

        And mitigate interference and overlap issues. And deal with routing issues. And. And. And.

        There's no way for a data service to be cheap: With modern codecs, voice (which is much, much better than my first digital/non-AMPS cell phone) already uses very little data, and Youtube uses lots. Which is why unlimited voice/text service is cheap, and genuinely unlimited data is like a hen's tooth.

        I used to get consistently better bandwidth with my OG Droid on genuinely-unlimited 3G than on any public hotspot, so when I was stuck in one place for awhile (selling/"donating" blood plasma, for instance) I'd just stream Netflix over 3G instead of using Biolife's carrier-grade TDM-sourced Wifi.

        But in doing so I knew that I was squandering a limited resource: Actual bandwidth, aka spectral capacity.

        And the only way to increase that total available bandwidth is to have more towers with smaller footprints AND maybe an institution of like-minded people who securely open up their home routers for the world to use (didn't Vodaphone do this on the other side of the pond?).

        But the first case involves lots of money (see above), and the second case involves cooperation and trust and hardware that is smart enough to configure itself to deal with interference mitigation autonomously.

        Both concepts can have traction and will work with existing technology, though the latter will fall apart with non-stationary users since there's a -lot- to be desired in a given Wifi client device's ability to handle roaming between multiple disparate networks.

        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          and, and, and... and the cell companies have to build in rural areas, the cost of which gets subsidized by customers in more densely populated areas. One reason the U.S. will never have the fastest/best/cheapest internet or cell phone service (on average).
          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            The US already has near-ubiquitous coverage of populated areas. There used to be some well-known dead spots near me (in Ohio), but they're gone: Things work just fine in or around any town or village, nowadays.

            That doesn't mean that doing so was cheap. Or that giving me 4G coverage down in the holler at my buddy's farm in Kentucky will ever happen (there is no central electricity implicit in those parts, and last I was there I might have had enough service to send an expensive text message once I climbed

        • There's no way for a data service to be cheap

          Of course there is. There's a way for data service to be free. It's called mesh networking, and all it takes is for enough of us to care at the same time to spend a few bucks (okay, maybe a couple hundred) on a fancy WAP and maybe build some decent antennas if we live in the sticks. Problem is, even here on Slashdot people will bitch and whine about how the uplink bandwidth has to come from somewhere and refuse to get involved. Well yes, no kidding. But we also have to start somewhere. Forget Internet2, we

  • Patents Show Google Fi Was Envisioned Before the iPhone Was Released

    Heh, yeah. Remember when all the fanbois lined up in Cuptertino so they could own a phone that automatically negotiates for their optimal data connection?

  • ...people call it GooFi or Goofi.
  • Not the same thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @06:19PM (#49548365)

    Meanwhile, a story at BostInno points out that Google's not the only one with a network-hopping hybrid approach to phone calls.

    Scratch Wireless, which is the one the link talks about, isn't quite the same thing. Google Fi is about combining multiple cellular networks, while Scratch Wireless only uses a single cellular network. Both let you seamlessly roam between cellular and wifi.

    • Google Fi is about combining multiple cellular networks, while Scratch Wireless only uses a single cellular network. Both let you seamlessly roam between cellular and wifi.

      Which you get when using a T-Mobile phone abroad, where it can use multiple cell networks and can switch mid call between Wifi and various cellular networks, or at least the old UMA phones could do some time around 2003. Perhaps they could not go from one WiFi network to another mid-call, but will Google's phone really do this?

      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        Sort of, but I'm pretty sure you can't switch between networks mid-call. Certainly not in Canada, because none of the carriers here support call handoffs while roaming. Calls drop when you switch networks.

        Google's phone seems to be very much a data-only cloud solution where everything runs through Google Hangouts. I believe the idea is to be completely network-independent by doing everything over IP, such that they can do stuff like seamless handoffs without needing support from the carrier.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @06:28PM (#49548403)
    better clickbait headline.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What a joke.

    Fandroids conveniently forget that Google's Schmidt was on the board of Apple and stealing key design decisions from a very early stage of iPhone design, including prototypes. Thus the reason Google decided to purchase Android and build their own platform, and because they needed a lot of key details about people (location, friends, associations, emails and text data, etc, etc), which they failed to acquire from facebook after multiple take-over attempts.

  • Bidding for Access (Score:4, Interesting)

    by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Friday April 24, 2015 @07:24PM (#49548653) Journal

    I thought this was interesting. FTFA:

    One part of Google's patent that wasn't discussed during the announcement was micro-auctions, in which users pay for network usage by the sip. Google's patent describes a mobile device that submits a proposal for competitive bids by network operators each time the network is used. An app in need of a network connection would send a request for a bid to nearby networks and would accept the lowest bid with the matching network service level.

    Micro-auctions would provide consumers the best user experience because they would always connect to the fastest network available. Large mobile carriers would resist this change because they would forego subscriber contract revenues earned independently of network quality for revenues earned by bidding the lowest price to deliver the fastest network performance.

    My only question would be how would you verify that the provider is returning a realistic answer? Remember AT&T's "Faux G"?

    That said, I gotta admit that this is a neat idea, especially with the idea of network service levels. For example, I can get by with 2G service for a message to Google/Apple asking, "Is my software up-to-date?" But I'll want that 100Mbps LTE goodness when watching a high-def movie. I might be fine with something in between for casual web-surfing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      verifying that the provider is telling the truth would come from a relatively small amount of experience... ie: I tried network X a couple of time and didn't like it... remember, you're not locking into a multi-year contract so sampling a network and then marking it as 'unusable' in your phone's preferences is no biggie

      what will doom this (in the US and similar phone subsidising countries) is that suddenly people will actually have to pay for their phones up front... while total cost of ownership will go do

    • My only question would be how would you verify that the provider is returning a realistic answer?

      I would guess by crowdsourcing the data like they do with google maps (and slow roads, contruction, accidents). If multiple users report a source as being slow then it'll get marked as such for all others.

      The app can do this in the background. And since it's done per app if you get a slow connection, then the next request for data can ignore the lying node.

  • Sounds a lot like Mesh networking ?

  • This same idea should be used with a credit card that is a credit card of credit cards to find at any one point the best credit card to use. So, when you swipe, you get the lowest interest rate and the best benefits automatically instead of going through thousands of cards to find the "right" one.

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