Google is moving into expanded space in Bakery Square. Now Pittsburgh is among the many cities across the country that are competing for a slice of the Google Fiber project.

Read that site's description of the benefits that Google Fiber would bring to Pittsburgh:
  • Enhanced education, job training and workforce preparedness for the 21st century
  • State-of-the-art delivery of health services to a much wider population base
  • The network infrastructure to support the new innovations for which Pittsburgh is famous, in research, technology, development, education, health, business, the arts, and many other areas
  • Far better Internet access for all, potentially at reduced cost
  • An increasingly attractive place for businesses to locate, expand, and stay
  • An opportunity to continue to stand out as the "Eds and Meds" hub that continues to reinvent itself (as highlighted during the recent G-20 Summit hosted by President Obama).
  • A chance to showcase and extend our regional strengths in computer science, information technology, and robotics; life sciences, energy and the environment, and materials.
  • New jobs, both creating the new infrastructure and working with the new applications it enables.
Pretty great, right? There's hardly a piece of Pittsburgh that wouldn't be made better by Google, given that it's solvent and aggressively future-oriented and Pittsburgh is neither. The city is outsourcing its visioning, and there's nothing wrong with that. So why stop with fiber? How about:

  • The Googleplex of the Alleghenies, formerly known as Pittsburgh International Airport. Use Google's network management technologies to get Pittsburghers where they need to go, when they need to go there, without public subsidies.
  • Pothole management, street repair, and snow removal: Infrastructure is infrastructure. While we're at it, how about a Google service that minimizes the likelihood that drivers will slow down needlessly when they approach tunnels?

That's just a start. (Chime in with other, better ideas.) The problem is that we don't have Al Franken. Duluth, also in the running for Google Fiber, has Al Franken. (Some people might say: That's no problem at all.) As Chris asked in the comments to the last post, who is Pittsburgh's Al Franken?


7 Responses to "Googleburgh"

RoboticGhost said... 3/19/2010 12:26 PM

Can one of you Titans of the Pittsburgh blogosphere somehow get Girl Talk to make a mash up? Pittsburgh + New Media + a Google Product seems like a winning recipe to me.

Pittsburgh's Al Franken would probably have to be Dennis Miller. No thanks.

joe said... 3/19/2010 12:45 PM

Did you know Ron Howard directed our own Michael Keaton as Bill Blazejowski in Night Shift? How can we ask them both to produce a quick short reprising the role -- e.g., speaking into his hand-held recorder with ideas for why Googleburgh?

Edible garbage

Old Bill could be just retiring from the morgue and moving back to Pittsburgh (where was Night Shift set anyways?) with all kinds of ideas about aging in Pittsburgh.

Seriously though, I'm working on my 2 cents for how this could benefit Pittsburgh's aging population and the way we age in community together. I've heard rumors of Google and AARP talking about some interesting ideas, hope we could build on that - and build on the local learning collaborative that's just getting underway locally, focused on education for direct care workers and staff development professionals in home care agencies, adult day service agencies, disability service agencies and assisted living communities.

E-mail me if anyone wants more info or wants to coordinate ideas.

Stephen Gross said... 3/19/2010 12:49 PM

Actually, this is one of the most exciting re-use ideas I have heard in awhile!

PIA is underutilized, and is unlikely to return to 100% occupancy with it original intended use (as an airport). So what is going to happen to it? Will it eventually become the Detroit central stations? Or will it repurpose its space and find new uses?

A Googleplex in PIA? Why not? At the very least, why not host office space directly in PIA for businesses that have a lot of corporate travel needs? Seems like a cool idea to me.

BrianTH said... 3/19/2010 12:52 PM

"As Chris asked in the comments to the last post, who is Pittsburgh's Al Franken?"

For good or ill, I believe that would be Howard Fineman.

MH said... 3/19/2010 12:59 PM

BrianTH, that may work. Fineman figured prominently in Franken's Why Not Me?

C. Briem said... 3/19/2010 1:09 PM

GirlTalk...ha. I had one of those midlife is staring you in the face conversations last year with one of our grad students over the mere existance of this Girl Talk dude... living in Polish Hill no less. I had no idea.

But that's a great idea.

Vannevar said... 3/20/2010 11:37 PM

Stephen, I don't think that a GooglePlex @ PIT would work. Going through security to get to work would be a real pain.

I do notice that Dick Sporting Goods is opening their new corporate HQ adjacent to a taxiway - so they're executives can get out of the plane and be at work.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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