Google signed a contract to buy its New York office building at 111 Eighth Avenue for about $1.8 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. However, none of the news reports I’ve read regarding this acquisition seem to realize quite how strategic a move it really may be for Google, despite the nearly $600/square foot price tag. Google has already indicated its interest in advancing technology to deliver gigabit+ internet speeds to communities (and directly to homes) across America in Google’s “Fiber for Communities” program.
With this acquisition, Google would now control one of the most important high-tech facilities and Internet interconnection hubs in the world. I found a link that describes this facility perfectly:
In addition to the other benefits, this acquisition could also help Google ward off potential net-neutrality issues, such as the recent Netflix versus Comcast case (especially since they would now own all the leases to the facility that just about every Internet provider must somehow interconnect with).
It would also offer Google a strong hand in guiding the future direction of the Internet, along with a controlling interest in any and all traffic that is routed via this massive interconnection point. While this may seem scary at first, perhaps it could lead to good things in the future. We can only hope that Google continues on a path to make ever more powerful Internet-centric technology generally available to the world, while continuing to adhere to its informal prime directive: “Don’t Be Evil“.