Google Fiber's Killer App

It has been a little more than three years since the Kansas Cities — both Kansas and Missouri — won a national competition to be the first places to get Google Fiber, a fiber-optic network that includes cable television and Internet running at one gigabit a second. That is about 100 times as fast as the average connection in the United States. [...]

There aren’t really any applications that fully take advantage of Fiber’s speed, at least not for ordinary people. And since only a few cities have such fast Internet access, tech companies aren’t clamoring to build things for Fiber. So it has fallen to locals — academics, residents, programmers and small-business owners — to make the best of it.

That a single application cannot fully consume the bandwidth available through Google Fiber might just be its killer app. Consider, if it is not likely to disrupt a user's primary task, then it becomes much more feasible to have many background tasks consuming significant amounts of bandwidth. Uses like peer-to-peer, Internet of Things, real-time cloud storage synchronization, etc. are free to operate without limit. 

In a bandwidth constrained world, these type of applications might be hampered (or never deployed) for fear of interrupting a user's primary focus (streaming video, web browsing, or any other primary task that is latency/bandwidth sensitive) or blowing their data cap. However, if you can assume that your secondary application will not be able to consume enough bandwidth to interfere with any other use, then you are free to consume it as you please. With unlimited bandwidth, a file stored remotely might be as accessible as something on a local disk. Multiple peer-to-peer applications could be running without concern. Imagine a common consumer app, like Netflix, becoming p2p. Imagine mesh networks transparently bridging over your fiber connection. 

Take these types of applications and multiply them across a few users or devices sharing a single connection and suddenly something with the bandwidth of Google Fiber becomes necessary. I think the key is to make copious amounts of bandwidth pervasive and the use cases will follow. I doubt we will see some brand new killer app that makes use of the entire connection. Instead, it will be all the apps we have now, just a lot more of them running concurrently across numerous devices.