Trending February 2024 # Expect Further Rankings Fluctuations As Penguin 3.0 Continues To Roll Out, Perhaps Indefinitely # Suggested March 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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There has been much discussion about Penguin 3.0 over the past several days, as site owners have reported fluctuations in rankings that are believed to be a result of Google’s recent algorithm update.

The majority of the discussion revolves around site owners reporting recoveries from previous Penguin updates, which is nice to see, but others may not be so fortunate.

These kinds of fluctuations are to be expected as Google’s John Mueller publicly stated last month that the Penguin 3.0 rollout was still ongoing, and did not give any indication as to when it might be completed.

With that being said, one could be left to assume Penguin 3.0 would still be rolling out for some time to come, and now we have confirmation that is indeed the case.

Mueller addressed questions about Penguin 3.0 in a Webmaster Central Hangout yesterday and revealed what could be taken as either good news or bad news — Penguin 3.0 may continue to roll out indefinitely.

Essentially, I think it’s still rolling out to some extent. They’re doing a slow and cautious roll out, but I don’t have anything new to add to those discussions.

Will there be a formal notification when this Penguin roll out is completed? Don’t count on it, as Mueller states “We’re hoping that these things will just keep on updating.”

Mueller also states in the Hangout that Google isn’t targeting any specific region or language with this continued roll out of Penguin, so fluctuations in rankings will likely continue to be seen worldwide.

Additional Penguin Notes

A takeaway from this news is that it may be easier to recover from Penguin penalties than it had been previously. If you were hit with a Penguin penalty in the past, and attempted to recover from it, you would have had to wait months until the next Penguin update came along to see any change in rankings.

Now that Penguin is going to “keep on updating”, you may see your site bounce back faster than before, provided you put the work in to correct the issues that led to getting hit by Penguin in the first place.

Having said that, the opposite may also be true. Meaning that if you engage in any kind of spammy link building, Google may catch on to it more quickly, so keep an eye on where your inbound links are coming from.

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Google: Don’t Expect Same Rankings After Manual Action Recovery

Google says site owners shouldn’t expect search rankings to bounce back to previous levels after making a recovery from a manual penalty.

This topic was addressed during a Google Webmaster Central hangout held on September 8, 2023.

A concerned site owner submitted a question after months of losing search rankings.

They’re trying to figure out why they’re losing rankings, and assume it must be related to recently removing 200 backlinks.

The backlinks were removed in order to recover from a manual penalty received back in April.

With the links removed, the penalty has since been lifted. So why haven’t rankings returned?

Here’s what Mueller has to say in response.

Ranking After Removing Links

As it relates to the part about removing links, Mueller says it’s impossible to know what impact that’s had without knowing more about the site.

If the site only had 200 backlinks, and they were all removed, then that could have quite a strong impact on rankings.

However, if the site has millions of links, then the removal of 200 bad links would have minimal impact.

“… [it’s] impossible to say. It’s something where I can’t really say what the actual effect there would be.

Because if your website just has 200 links, and you remove all those links to your website, then obviously that will be something that is kind of more of a stronger effect.

On the other hand, if your website has millions of links, and is well embedded within the web, and these 200 backlinks are from a paid campaign that you did which ended up being not no-follow, then that’s probably a minimal change on your website.”

Related: 10 Bad Links That Can Get You Penalized by Google

Ranking After Manual Action Recovery

Mueller then goes on to address the difference between search rankings prior to a manual penalty, and search rankings after recovery.

If a website receives a manual penalty from Google, it means the site was once ranking artificially.

When a site recovers from a penalty it’s now being ranked in a completely different situation.

Depending on how artificially inflated the rankings once were, the change could be quite severe.

That doesn’t mean rankings won’t ever return to past levels, it means more work is required than simply recovering from the penalty.

Here’s how Mueller puts it:

“The other thing to keep in mind with manual actions in general is that, if you clean up a manual action, that essentially means in the past your website was ranking in an artificial situation.

The manual action kind of took care of that. And if you clean it up so that the manual action is no longer necessary, then your website is ranking in a different situation.

It can happen that it’s very similar to before, but it can also happen that your previous positions in search were artificially, strongly, inflated due to the things that the manual action was looking at.

So that’s something where you might see a stronger effect from manual actions and cleaning that up over time.”

Hear the full question and answer in the video below, starting at the 13-minute mark:

Ripple Goes ‘Social’ As Its Decoupling Continues To…

Ripple’s social volume and dominance recently hit its highest point in over a year.

XRP’s price trend showed a strong bullish trend and signs of decoupling from the general market trend.

Ripple (XRP) is currently buzzing with excitement and has become the center of attention, according to new data from Santiment. The project ignited curiosity. Interestingly, various important metrics also displayed notable signs of substantial growth.

Ripple social mentions top the chart

Santiment’s latest report on May 31 revealed that Ripple experienced a remarkable surge in social volume, capturing significant attention in online discussions. The social volume chart indicated that on May 31, there were nearly 3,000 mentions of XRP.

As of this writing, the volume remained high, nearing 2,000 mentions. This current level marked the project’s highest social volume in over a year, as depicted by the chart.

However, as of this writing, the social dominance had nearly doubled, surpassing 9%. This represented the highest social dominance level XRP had achieved in over a year.

These social metrics implied that discussions around XRP accounted for over 9% of crypto-related conversations. This surge in interest could be attributed to the growing optimism surrounding the ongoing Ripple vs. SEC case, which appears to be approaching its conclusion.

Active addresses and volume spike

A look at the seven-day and 30-day active addresses metric of XRP showed that there had been a significant spike recently. The 30-day active addresses metric on Santiment showed that there was a spike around March to April before the recent spike.

In those periods, the number of active addresses was around 1 million. However, there was a sharp decline later in April and better parts of May with less than 300,000 active addresses.

As of this writing, however, the number of active addresses has picked up. It was now around 998,000, closer to the range it saw in early April. 

Furthermore, the volume also saw a significant spike recently. As of May 31, the volume was around 2.2 billion, up from the previous region of around 1 billion. As of this writing, it already had over 1.3 billion.

Price trends show decoupling

Based on CoinMarketCap data, Ripple experienced a notable increase of over 9% in value over the past month. This upward trajectory was also reflected in its market capitalization volume, as reported by CoinMarketCap.

However, when looking at the daily timeframe chart, XRP concluded May with a loss and started the new month on a downward trend. As of this writing, it was trading at around 0.50, representing a loss of nearly 2%.

Despite the current downtrend in price, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicated a strong bullish trend for XRP. The RSI revealed that XRP had recently moved down from the overbought zone, suggesting a potential correction in price.

Realistic or not, here’s XRP’s market cap in BTC terms

Moreover, the current price trend demonstrated that XRP had deviated from the price trends of other altcoins, indicating a decoupling effect.

Overall, the surge in social volume observed earlier impacted Ripple’s price trend and other significant metrics. However, it appeared that a correction was underway, and there was a possibility of further price decline in the coming days.

Tech Exodus Continues As Yahoo Makes Major Call On Its Future

Nomad Health, a New York-based online healthcare staffing management company, is laying off 20% of its corporate staff, with CEO Alexi Nazem telling workers in a letter obtained by Forbes the move comes as the company is “confronting a major shift in the post-pandemic economy” due to high inflation, recession fears and low consumer demand (Nomad Health had roughly 870 employees as of December, according to PitchBook).

Internet technology management company GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft, announced it is laying off 10% of its workforce—roughly 300 of its 3,000 employees—officials confirmed to Fortune (GitHub did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Forbes, but told TechCrunch the move is part of a “budgetary realignment” intended to preserve the “health of our business in the short term”).

Disney could lay off as many as 7,000 employees (roughly 3.2% of its 220,000 global employees) in a “necessary step to address the challenges we face today,” CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon as the company looks to save $5.5 billion by cutting its staff.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, eBay announced a 4% reduction to its workforce (500 employees), as the San Jose, California-based e-commerce company works to cut costs “with considerations of the [global] macroeconomic situation.”

In a message to employees, Eric Yuan, the CEO of online meeting platform Zoom, unveiled plans to slash roughly 15% of the company’s workforce as “the world transitions to life post-pandemic” and amid “uncertainty of the global economy”—cutting approximately 1,300 positions, after it tripled its staff at the outset of the pandemic.

Atlanta-based cybersecurity company Secureworks announced in a SEC filing it will cut 9% of its staff (estimated to affect roughly 225 of its nearly 2,500 employees, according to PitchBook), as it looks to reduce spending amid a “time when some world economies are in a period of uncertainty.”

Jet maker Boeing confirmed to multiple news outlets plans to cut around 2,000 jobs in finance and human resources this year, though the firm said it will increase its overall headcount by 10,000 employees “with a focus on engineering and manufacturing.”

Texas-headquartered Dell Technologies, which owns PC-maker Dell, could cut roughly 6,650 employees, reportedly citing “uncertain” market conditions in their decision to move beyond earlier cost-cutting measures, while analysts noted a crash in demand for personal computer products—which makes up the majority of Dell’s sales—after a pandemic high.

Okta CEO Todd McKinnon unveiled plans to reduce the tech company’s workforce by 5% (roughly 300 positions) in an SEC filing on Thursday, citing a period of over-hiring over the past several years that did not account for the “macroeconomic reality we’re in today.”

NetApp, a San Jose, California-based cloud data company, announced plans in an SEC filing to lay off 8% of its staff (estimated to affect 960 employees) by the end of the fourth fiscal quarter of 2023 “in light of the macroeconomic challenges and reduced spending environment.”

Boston-based online sports betting company DraftKings also said it plans to cut 3.5% of its global workforce, in a cost-cutting move expected to affect approximately 140 employees, the Boston Globe reported.

FedEx announced it will slash 10% of its officer and director team and “consolidate some teams and functions”—four months after the delivery giant unveiled plans for a hiring freeze and that it would close 90 office FedEx Office locations—in a move CEO Raj Subramaniam said was necessary to make the company a “more efficient” and “agile organization” (FedEx employs roughly 547,000 people, according to PitchBook).

Electric automaker Rivian Automotive will cut 6% of its staff, CEO R.J. Scaringe said in an email to employees seen by Reuters, just over six months after the company laid off another 5% of its roughly 14,000 employees (Rivian did not immediately respond to an inquiry for more details from Forbes).

In a statement on Tuesday, online payment company PayPal announced it would cut 7% of its global workforce (2,000 full-time positions) amid a “competitive landscape” and a “challenging macro-economic environment,” CEO Dan Schulman said.

Publishing giant HarperCollins announced it would slash 5% of its staff in the U.S. and Canada as the publisher struggles with declining sales and “unprecedented supply chain and inflationary pressures;” HarperCollins is estimated to have roughly 4,000 employees worldwide, with more than half of them working in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

HubSpot, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software company, said it would cut 7% of its workforce by the end of the first quarter of 2023 in a SEC filing, as part of a restructuring plan, with CEO Yamini Rangan telling staff it follows a “downward trend” after the company “bloomed” in the Covid-19 pandemic, with HubSpot facing a “faster deceleration than we expected.”

Philips said it would cut 3,000 jobs worldwide in 2023 and 6,000 total by 2025 after the Dutch electronics and medical equipment maker announced $1.7 billion in losses for 2023, as CEO Roy Jakobs added the company will now focus on “strengthening our patient safety and quality management.”

Hasbro said it would cut 15% of its global workforce this year (affecting roughly 1,000 full-time employees), as the toymaker’s revenue fell 17% over the past year “against the backdrop of a challenging holiday consumer environment,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement.

Michigan-based chemical company Dow announced it would cut 2,000 positions globally in a cost-reducing plan aimed at saving $1 billion, as CEO Jim Fitterling said the company navigates “macro uncertainties and challenging energy markets, particularly in Europe.”

Software company IBM announced it would slash 1.5% of its global workforce, estimated to affect roughly 3,900 employees, according to CFO James Kavanaugh, multiple outlets reported, as the company expects $10.5 billion in free cash flow in fiscal year 2023.

SAP, said it will lay off 3,000 workers—around 2.5% of its global workforce—in its earnings call announcing its fourth quarter 2023 results on Thursday, but did not specify where those cuts would be made. The German enterprise software firm—whose U.S. headquarters are in Pennsylvania—said the layoffs were part of an effort to cut costs and strengthen focus on its core cloud computing business.

Groupon, in an SEC filing, said it would reduce its head count by 500 employees, globally, in its second major round of cuts in recent months, after the e-commerce company cut another 500 positions last August.

Vacasa, the Portland, Oregon-based vacation rental management company announced it would slash 1,300 positions (17% of its staff) in a SEC filing as it moves to reduce costs and “focus on being a profitable company,” three months after it announced it would cut another 6% of its staff.

3M, the maker of Post-it Notes and Scotch tape, announced it would cut roughly 2,500 global manufacturing positions in a financial report, as chairman and CEO Mike Roman said the company expects “macroeconomic challenges to persist in 2023.”

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini is planning to cut 10% of its workforce, according to an internal memo seen by CNBC and The Information, with layoffs estimated to affect 100 of its roughly 1,000 employees—its latest round of cuts after it slashed 7% of its staff last July, and another 10% last May.

Spotify will lay off 6% of its workforce (roughly 600 employees, based on the 9,800 full-time workers it had as of a September 30 filing) and shares of the firm rose more than 5% in early trading as investors continue to largely digest tech layoffs as positive news for bottom lines, while the company’s chief content officer Dawn Ostroff will depart the company as part of the reorganization.

Google parent Alphabet plans to cut around 12,000 jobs worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said, citing the need for “tough choices” in order to “fully capture” the huge opportunities lying ahead.

Boston-based furniture e-commerce company Wayfair announced it would cut 10% of its global workforce (1,750 employees), including 1,200 corporate positions, in a move to “eliminate management layers and reorganize to be more agile” amid reduced sales—the company’s latest round of job cuts following it’s decision to cut 870 employees last August.

Capital One slashed 1,100 technology positions, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg—Capital One did not confirm the number of positions that would be cut, although a spokesperson told Forbes that affected employees were told they could apply for other roles in the company.

Student loan servicer Nelnet announced it will let go of 350 associates hired over past next six months, while another 210 will be cut for “performance reasons,” telling Insider the cuts come as President Joe Biden’s student debt forgiveness program continues to stall after facing legal challenges from conservative groups opposed to the measure.

Microsoft’s cuts, which affect 10,000 employees (less than 5% of its workforce), come three months after the Washington-based company conducted another round of layoffs affecting less than 1% of its roughly 180,000 employees, with CEO Satya Nadella saying in a message to employees that some workers will be notified starting Wednesday, and the layoffs will be conducted by the end of the third fiscal quarter in September.

Amazon, one of the biggest companies in the country, had outlined a plan to eliminate more than 18,000 positions (including jobs that were cut in November) starting January 18 in a message to staff earlier this month from CEO Andy Jassy, who said the company is facing an “uncertain economy” after hiring “rapidly” over the past few years.

Teladoc Health will cut 6% of its staff—not including clinicians—as part of a restructuring plan the company announced in a financial report on Wednesday, as the New York-based telemedicine company attempts to reduce its operating costs amid a “challenged economic environment.”

LendingClub announced it would lay off 225 employees (roughly 14% of its workforce) in a SEC filing, amid a “challenging economic environment,” as the San Francisco-based company attempts to “align its operations to reduced marketplace revenue” following seven rounds of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes last year and as concerns persist of a potential recession.

chúng tôi CEO Kris Marszalek announced the company, which had more than 2,500 employees as of October, according to PitchBook, will cut 20% of its staff in a message to employees, as the company faces “ongoing economic headwinds and unforeseeable industry events—including the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX late last year, which “significantly damaged trust in the industry.”

DirecTV’s cuts could affect hundreds of employees, primarily managers, who make up nearly half of the company’s 10,000 employees, sources told CNBC, as the company struggles with an increase in the cost to “secure and distribute programming,” and after the company lost nearly 3% of its subscribers (400,000) in the third quarter of 2023, according to the Leichtman Research Group.

BlackRock officials reportedly told employees the New York-based company plans to reduce its headcount by 2.5%—the company did not immediately respond to a Forbes inquiry for further details, but in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, CEO Larry Fink and President Rob Kapito said the move comes amid “uncertainty around us” that necessitates staying “ahead of changes in the market.”

In a memo to employees, Flexport CEOs Dave Clark and Ryan Petersen announced plans to slash 20% of the company’s global workforce (estimated to affect 662 of its more than 3,300 employees, according to data from PitchBook), saying the supply chain startup is “not immune” to a worldwide the “macroeconomic downturn.”

Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the U.S. announced plans to lay off 25% of its workforce (950 employees) in a company blog post in order to “weather downturns in the crypto market,” after it laid off another 18% of its staff last June.

Goldman Sachs could lay off as many as 3,200 employees in one of the biggest round of job cuts so far in 2023 as the investment banking giant prepares for a possible recession, multiple outlets reported, citing people familiar with the job cuts.

Artificial intelligence startup Scale AI announced plans to cut one fifth of its staff, CEO Alexandr Wang announced in a blog post, saying the company grew “rapidly” over the past several years, but faces a macro environment that has “changed dramatically in recent quarters.”

Online apparel company Stitch Fix will lay off 20% of its salaried staff and close a Salt Lake City distribution center, founder and interim CEO Katrina Lake announced in an internal memo, after laying off another 15% of its staff last June.

Crypto lender Genesis Trading reportedly laid off 30% of its workforce, according to the Wall Street Journal, which spoke to unnamed sources—the company’s second round of cuts since August, lowering its staff to 145.

San Francisco-based software giant Salesforce will reduce its headcount by 10%, or 7,900 employees, CEO Marc Benioff announced in an internal letter, amid a “challenging” economic climate and as customers take a “more measured approach to their purchasing decisions.”

Online video platform Vimeo announced its second round of cuts in the past six months, which affect 11% of its workforce (roughly 150 of its 1,400 employees, according to data from PitchBook), with CEO Anjali Sud attributing the company’s decision to a “deterioration in economic conditions.”

Microsoft’s Open Source Love Fest Continues As It Joins Linux Foundation

After a long campaign against open source and Linux, Microsoft has for the past few been pushing its love of the popular operating system. On Wednesday, the company made that even more official by joining the Linux Foundation, an organization that shepherds development of the operating system’s kernel and provides funding for open source projects.

Microsoft also launched the public beta of SQL Server on Linux, the much-anticipated port of the relational database software that was first announced in March. Linux developers can also start working with a beta of Azure App Service, which is designed to take away the work of managing infrastructure for cloud-based apps.

The moves are part of an ongoing effort by the company to adopt and support Linux and open source in a variety of different ways. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella first proclaimed in 2014 that the company loves Linux, and we’ve seen the results of that ever since.

Microsoft will be a Platinum member in the Linux Foundation, placing it alongside the likes of Intel, Oracle, Samsung and IBM. The move makes sense for Microsoft, given its open source leanings of late. Jim Zemlin, the Foundation’s executive director, said in a press release that he expects Microsoft will intensify “its involvement and commitment to open development.”

But things weren’t always so cozy between the two organizations. In 2009, Zemlin blasted Microsoft for “secretly attacking Linux” after it sold a group of Linux-related patents. Microsoft, meanwhile, attacked Linux, with former CEO Steve Ballmer famously calling the operating system a “cancer” 15 years ago.

But at the same time, the door was open for the two organizations to work together, even during a period when Microsoft was much more aggressive towards Linux.

“We’d like to have a place where developers can come and work on making Linux more effectively interoperate with Microsoft products,” Zemlin told InfoWorld’s Paul Krill in a 2008 interview. “And we’d like to do that in the open-source way that’s not tied to any specific marketing agreement, that’s not tied to any specific contract, that is an open process that can be participated in by anyone in the community.”

A warmer relationship between the two organizations began emerging last year when the two launched a certification for running Linux on Azure. In order to obtain the certificate, sysadmins had to pass a Microsoft exam about Azure, and a Linux Foundation exam about managing the open source operating system.

Microsoft also joined the Eclipse Foundation earlier this year.

Now, Microsoft’s move to join the Linux Foundation is an important step, according to IDC Program Director Al Hilwa. 

“Microsoft is hitting all the right notes in terms of aligning its developer business with an ecosystem much broader than Windows,” he said in an email. “Joining the Linux Foundation is a natural progression of this strategy and one that might still generate a double take if it wasn’t for all the actions the company has already taken in terms of supporting Linux in Azure and with SQL Server.”

With the release of the pubic beta for SQL Server on Linux, anyone will be able to take the relational database software for a spin on a Linux machine, though they shouldn’t expect the full set of features available on Windows to make their way over to Linux just yet.

Microsoft has planned to make SQL Server on Linux available in the middle of next year, and Wednesday’s launch is an important step along that path.

Microsoft General Manager Rohan Kumar said during a press event that the SQL Server team put a lot of work to making the relational database software feel like it’s at home on Linux, and not just a straight port of the database engine alone.

Azure App Service is also getting the Linux treatment. Developers building chúng tôi and PHP applications that run on Linux now have a beta version of Microsoft’s platform-as-a-service offering to try out. It’s designed to help developers build web and mobile apps that easily scale and integrate with other services.

All of this is part of a suite of announcements Microsoft made at its Connect conference in New York City on Wednesday. On top of all the Linux news, Google will be joining the .NET Foundation, and Microsoft is releasing a handful of updates to various Visual Studio products.

Google Adds Tv As It Rolls Out Fiber In Kansas City

Google Fiber broadband service in Kansas City will cost US$70 per month for 1Gbps Internet access and $120 per month for that service plus TV, the company said.

Even residents who don’t want to pay for the fast service will benefit from the project: For a one-time $300 construction fee, which can be paid in installments, they will be able to get free broadband at speeds comparable to DSL (digital subscriber line) service — 5Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. But neighborhoods where not enough residents pre-register for Google Fiber won’t get it.

Google disclosed the details of Google Fiber on Thursday on its blog and on an information page about the project. The rollout will cover qualifying areas of Kansas City, Missouri, and neighboring Kansas City, Kansas, which won out over more than 1000 cities that applied for the service in 2010.

Testing Fiber Networks

Google announced in February 2010 that it planned to build fiber networks in “a small number of trial locations” in the U.S., in which it would offer service at competitive prices to between 50,000 and 500,000 people. The company described its project as a test bed to explore new applications, fiber deployment techniques and operation of a network that’s open to other service providers. Google hasn’t named other fiber cities yet but operates one network in a small community near Stanford University.

The company has divided the cities into “fiberhoods” and asked residents to pre-register for service and tell their neighbors to join them. Each “fiberhood” will have a goal of pre-registrations to meet by September 9, based on the population density of the area. The fiberhoods that get the most pre-registrations will get service first, and should see it soon after the registration period. Google said. Areas where not enough residents pre-register won’t qualify for the rollout.

Registration requires giving basic information such as name and address and paying a $10 deposit. The $300 construction fee for equipping a home for service will be waived for those who sign up for the paid services.

Additional perks for those who get TV service will be a free “Storage Box” with 2T bytes of storage for recorded shows, and a free Nexus 7 tablet to use as a remote.

The addition of TV in Kansas City makes Google Fiber more comparable to the services being offered by cable operators and carriers, though at higher speeds and with some Google twists. By way of comparison, Verizon Communications offers 300Mbps downstream on the fastest tier of its FiOS fiber-to-the-home service, and Comcast offers up to 105Mbps. TV is available in addition to each of those plans.

Google’s fiber-based Internet service can run at 1Gbps both upstream and downstream and has no data caps. Customers have to sign up for a one-year contract for Internet alone and a two-year contract for Internet plus TV. The 5Mbps service also has no caps, and users can pay $25 per month for 12 months to cover the cost of construction. That service is guaranteed free for at least seven years.

Google’s HD-equipped set-top box, which it calls the TV Box, provides access to TV, on-demand video and Internet content. It also includes a Wi-Fi access point. Its Network Box also has Wi-Fi, plus four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a built-in firewall. The Storage Box can be used for personal multimedia content as well as recorded shows.

Working out the Service

But despite the eye-popping speed and added features, Google Fiber isn’t perfect, said Mike Jude, an analyst at Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan. Many consumers want mobile service and landline voice bundled with broadband and TV, he said.

“It can’t be just as simple as data access and subscription TV,” Jude said. Unless Google can somehow build those pieces through Android and VoIP, they may face competitive pressure.

Kansas City, Missouri, has a population of about 460,000, while its twin city across the border is home to about 145,000 people. By asking neighborhoods to “rally” for fiber access, Google is continuing its practice of having communities qualify for fiber service. On its information site, the company tells residents that winning fiber service for their neighborhood includes making free gigabit-speed service available to public buildings such as schools, libraries and hospitals.

Asking for pre-registrations is a smart strategy that reduces Google’s risk, and one that regulated service providers probably couldn’t use, Jude said.

Though much has changed since Google’s 2010 announcement, including its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a maker of both mobile devices and set-top boxes, analysts believe the company’s vision remains the same. Google still doesn’t want to compete against carriers and cable operators, said analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.

“I think this is really more about building a reasonable-size sandbox that people can play in,” he said. That play could include Google trying out new devices and services over its own network and watching the consumer response and network impact. “This is really kind of a marketer’s and engineer’s dream,” Gold said. If service providers see what can be done on a fast network, they may build their own, giving Google a better foundation for its over-the-top services, he said.

Jude thinks Google wants to demonstrate to regulators that a gigabit-speed fiber network is feasible. If they see Google build one at a reasonable price, they may call on the established players to do the same, he said.

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