Google 'Instant Bid' Wireless Patent Could Threaten Cellular, Wi-Fi Providers

If Android sputters out and fades away, Google might have another plan to shake up the phone industry. In a patent filed and 2007 and published this week, Google details plans for an "Instant Bid" system for dealing with wireless connections. The concept is pretty straightforward: devices broadcast their request for service, and available networks automatically return a list of price offers for that service. The system makes perfect sense for locations with competing Wi-Fi hotspots, but the application specifically talks about telecommunication devices. That's where things get interesting.

With the national dominance of a few wireless carriers, there's little threat of this technology taking off, but the concept is exciting to consider. For example, open network bidding would make price comparisons between carriers a constant concern, rather than a one-off choice, at least in the pay as you go space. Conversely, it might also negate the need for smaller networks to lease coverage from larger ones when their users roam, leaving that task up to the individuals.

That said, this might be one big paygo pie in the sky. Google has basically said as much, telling New Scientist "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't." [Patent via New Scientist]