In a move destined to up the stakes in the internet multiplier game, a company called Webaroo has developed a tool that will put the internet (well, at least the important parts of it) on your laptop. No more pesky internet connection problems.
For a mere 40 GB of space, you can take the internet with you.
Google, who has been developing a measly one new internet, will certainly feel pressured now to develop a few more. Maybe Google will announce a program to put internets on iPods or maybe cell phones. I have a refrigerator that should be good for 7-8 internets.
Techdirt, as always, has a good read on this story.
Look, I travel a good bit. And the lack of an internet connection can be a pain. But there are three forces already in motion to fix this problem:
1) Free wi-fi. Many cities and lots of businesses are rolling out free wi-fi as a public service and/or a way to attract traffic. The shopping mall beside my office just announced that it has free wi-fi for visitors.
2) National wireless networks, like Verizon’s, which I use and have written favorably about here. At $15 a month extra to use my phone as a modem, one business trip per month without the need to buy access from a hotel or airport pays for the cost.
3) Airlines are gradually rolling out internet connections on their airplanes. Granted, there will probably be a cost involved. But if you need the internet for business, a small charge isn’t going to keep you from connecting. If you are not traveling on business and you can’t generally do without the internet on a plane, you need to reassess your priorities.
I also wonder what the business model is here. Are ads pushed in addition to the internet content? Will content providers pay to get in or at the top of the saved cache? If it’s free (and it is according to the FAQ), there has to be revenue from some other source. The only one I can think of is the old Web 2.0 standby- ads. Either directly or indirectly via page placement within the downloaded cache. If there’s another logical revenue stream, I can’t think of it.
So, I guess I’m wondering- what’s the catch?
In sum, an offline internet might solve a few problems for a few people, but I don’t see much of a business opportunity here.