Could Google Fiber push Austin, TX past Silicon Valley in terms of technology?

Google finally made their highly-anticipated announcement today about their next stop on the Google Fiber tour, and that’s right, you guessed it, it’s Austin, Texas. Google made their official statement just hours ago, revealing that Austin will be the second recipient of their super-fast 1 gigabit Internet and TV service “Google Fiber.” So how fast is this 1-gigabit service? Faster than most of us can probably even imagine, at about 150 times the speed of your average broadband Internet access speeds in this country. Not only will the 1-gigabit Internet service be available, but Google Fiber also offers a 1-terabyte Google drive space, TV service and a DVR that can record up to 8 shows at once!

Not only are the Internet speeds faster than we can begin to imagine, but they’re also offering a free version of 5Mbps download, 1Mbps upload speed with an initial $300 setup fee, for a guaranteed 7 years of service. While the free version’s speed may not get the tech nerds excited, this is a great feature for Austinites who are living without Internet access, or may still be using dial-up.

While Google’s goodwill and fantastic prices may be making headlines, as an established Austin SEO Company we can’t help but wonder what Google Fiber will mean for Austin’s already prosperous technology industry. Kansas City, Google’s first city chosen for Google Fiber has grown an amazing technology industry, thanks in part to Google Fiber. The Wall Street Journal even listed Kansas City as an “Information Hub” in 2010, saying:

“In 2009 the number of tech companies rose by 5% to 2,900, trumping the growth rates of well-known hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin, Texas.”

Austin already tops most top 5 charts as one of the most innovative cities in the U.S., so will Google Fiber take them to the top? Austin, Texas, also referred to as Silicone Hills, has been hot on Silicone Valley’s heels in the past few years. In 2010, Forbes listed Austin as the one of most innovative cities in the United States with about 2,900 patented inventions, the second most per-capita. Austin can also thank the University of Texas’ School of Engineering, which ranks ninth on the U.S. News World and Report list of best engineering schools and produces over 1,000 undergraduates per year, many of whom stay to work and live in the innovative city. According to the director of the school’s career center, employers actually come to Austin because “they can get quality and quantity.”

Google Fiber is just one more reason for job-seekers, job creators, and the nation’s bright and innovative to move to Austin, Texas. Google Fiber will continue to build on Austin’s momentum and will help make things possible that we haven’t even dreamed up yet!

Author: Allison Schnur is the Senior Project Manager of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about SEO, SEM, or social media please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.

“Much Adoodle about Nothing?” What Kind of Backlash Should Google Expect from the Chavez over Jesus Doodle Decision?

Just one day after Google’s decision to honor the birthday of the founder of the National Farm Workers Association, labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, nearly half the world seems to have an opinion. While the choice to honor a devout Christian on one of the most significant Christian holidays has been downplayed, up-played and outright villainized, it remains to be seen if Google will suffer long-term consequences from its decision to ignore the Easter holiday and one of the most significant historic figures of all time.

Originally created in 1998, you can see a timeline of Google doodles at google.com/doodles, which began as a simple homage to holidays with cheeky and childish images, but became decidedly worldlier and more educational throughout the years. Google users have come to expect a new doodle on National holidays, as well as the lesser known holidays and significant dates. The Google doodle has also become Google’s way of expressing their sense of creativity and opinions in a fairly uncontroversial way; until now, that is.

Now the question remains, was Google’s choice to ignore Easter simply an attempt to uphold its duty to remain relevant on a global scale? Or were they consciously making a political stance in honoring a left-winged activist just one year after President Obama declared March 31st as Cesar Chavez day? Or, even more realistically, were they just flaunting their power with their now reported 86% search engine market share? Proving that they no longer have to answer to anyone?

Whether you’re a devout Christian or not, most Americans agree that Google had to foresee the backlash coming, and that they could have potentially made a solid stance on their religious and political views (something many large companies have been doing this past year, especially surrounding the gay marriage issue). So the question remains, will the devout Christians be flocking to use Google’s biggest competitor, Bing, who celebrated Easter with their simple and far less controversial Easter egg background? Or will the frustrated users eventually come running back to Google, whose market share is directly reflected in their mastery of search engine optimization functionality?

Google did release a statement to the Washington Post that read, “We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site. Sometimes for a given date, we feature an historical event or influential figure that we haven’t in the past.” Fox News was quick to point out that Google has never honored Jesus in the past, on either Easter or Christmas.

In Google’s defense, however, the Chavez family released a statement showing their appreciation for the honor. They stated, “coincidentally, his birthday this year falls on Easter Sunday. We understand the concern that some people have, but for many there is no contradiction. Cesar lived the gospel according to Jesus Christ: he helped the poor and outcast.” Could Google have actually thought they were actually taking the least controversial route? At this point it seems that all we can really do is speculate and watch as the aftermath unfolds.

Author: Allison Schnur is the Senior Project Manager of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about SEO, SEM, or social media please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.