Google Fiber Challenge: What Apps Can You Build for Gigabit Internet?

Google Fiber is partnering with US Ignite to seek the best ideas for building faster applications that can take advantage of faster Gigabit Internet systems such as Google Fiber.

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Google Fiber will co-host a three-day conference in November that will bring together developers who want to create new applications that will be able to blossom on evolving high-speed, Gigabit Internet infrastructures such as Google Fiber.

The conference, the Gigabit Explorer Challenge, will run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3 in Kansas City, where Google Fiber was first proposed and launched back in the fall of 2012.

The happening was unveiled in a Sept. 19 guest post on the Google Fiber Blog by Joe Kochan, the COO of US Ignite, a nonprofit group that is working to find ways to take advantage of such high-speed networks.

"What would you do with a gigabit?" wrote Kochan in his post. "That's the question that US Ignite has been working to answer since we launched—and we want you to help us come up with some answers. This November, our team will travel to Kansas City to work with local and national developers to build and test gigabit applications that are built for high speed networks like the Google Fiber."

Among the topics to be explored at the conference are building applications that are incredibly responsive, with no latency or delay, as well as applications that allow users to touch, move and control things with their hands, eyes and body language, wrote Kochan. Also to be tackled are ideas about building applications for high-speed networks that enable real-time collaboration in natural ways, as well as what can be done with unlimited bandwidth.

Developers who are fascinated by such possibilities are being invited to apply to participate in the event by submitting their ideas by Sept. 30.

"Not only will you get to develop using Google Fiber, but you'll also have access to technology advisors and onsite computing and storage resources," wrote Kochan. "You just need to have a great idea and be willing to put in the time to develop it."

More details about the event, including its location and hours, are expected to be announced soon.

"The US Ignite/Google Fiber Gigabit Explorer Challenge is your chance to partner with Google Fiber and US Ignite to define the future of the Internet of Immersive Experience," states the conference Website. "We're bringing together the ultra-fast Google Fiber network in Kansas City with the emerging capabilities of SDN and local cloud to open new frontiers for you to explore. What's possible when you have all the computing power you need locally available and you can program everything at 100 times today's speeds?"

The event is seeking eight to 10 participating teams that will participate in a Friday night kickoff, followed by a "hands-on coding sprint designing, building, and testing," according to the Website. "By Sunday afternoon, teams will pitch their apps to a panel of judges from Google Fiber, US Ignite and others to showcase why your app is revolutionary. Then we'll celebrate your collective achievements and even make some awards!"

Ideas and imagination are the key, according to organizers. "These are a new breed of apps and we are looking for a new kind of thinker—a 'Gigabit thinker'—an explorer who no longer thinks about constraints but rather what's possible," the site states.

Interested participants can apply as individuals or as teams. Winners will be notified soon after.

Earlier this week, plans for eventual Google Fiber high-speed Internet and cable television service in Overland Park, Kansas, were halted by the city's leaders as they pondered the potential legal issues surrounding who will be responsible if problems develop with the services.

The one-month delay, until Oct. 14, was announced in a Sept. 17 story by The Kansas City Star, which reported that the City Council delayed their decision because of a liability concern in the proposed legal agreement with Google. This apparently marks the first time that Google has run into delays in communities where it has proposed hookups to its ultra-high-speed Internet and cable television services.

In April 2013, Google announced that it will bring the service to Provo, Utah, just eight days after it unveiled plans to bring Google Fiber to Austin, Texas. The Provo project was the third U.S. community to be slated for Fiber service so far. Other cities, including Prairie Village, Kan., Mission Hills, Kan., and Roeland Park, Kan., have also recently approved service plans for Google Fiber.

Google's first Fiber deployment in the United States has been happening in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., where the company has been unveiling Google Fiber since the fall of 2012, with plans to go national in the future.