There was no lack of, well, buzz about Google's new Buzz social-media platform last week, but more important were a series of moves that suggest the search giant is ready to take a tentative step toward fixing one of its longest-held gripes: the speed of Internet connections in the U.S.
In a blog post on Feb. 10, Google product managers Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly laid out the company's plan to provide as many as 500,000 people in a small number of locales with fiber-optic Internet connections capable of one gigabit per second (Gbps), more than 100 times faster than the typical U.S. broadband connection speed today.
It would be a blazing-fast upgrade, capable of downloading a full-length HD movie in under 90 seconds.
To be considered for the trial, cities have until March 26 to submit information about their existing networks, with Google planning to choose its test site later this year.
Such a plan isn't cheap: depending on how many people Google chooses to link up, analysts say costs could run north of $1 billion to install and maintain the new network.
Internet speed isn't a new concern for Google — the company says they've begun taking loading times into account as part of search rankings, and speed was a selling point behind the development of its increasingly popular Google Chrome Web browser.
So what's in it for Google?
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