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Google Wiring New York City's Chelsea For Free Wi-Fi

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the now-do-the-rest-of-the-country dept.

Google 67

Nerval's Lobster writes "On the heels of rolling out high-speed broadband to Kansas City, Google is bringing more connectivity to another American municipality: New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, which will receive Wi-Fi in outdoor areas courtesy of the search-engine giant. The free Internet zone will encompass an area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway on the East-West access, and 19th Street and Gansevoort Street on the North-South. It will cost $115,000 to build and $45,000 a year to maintain, according to Bloomberg, with costs split between Google and a nonprofit neighborhood development group. Internet access will come free of advertising, aside from a provider message from Google, and not require any sort of password. Under mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has encouraged the development of a sizable tech sector; in addition to dozens of startups, Google and other behemoths have opened headquarters in Manhattan. In theory, this 'Silicon Alley' will contribute mightily to the city's tax base and diversify the local economy."

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Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522665)

Sid Vicious would have fucking loved this. Nancy too.

And it will be called... (4, Funny)

mariox19 (632969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42522727)

Hipster Web.

Re:And it will be called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522783)

In Chelsea? I think it's just called Grindr.

Re:And it will be called... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522861)

No, this is from Google -- which means it's sweaty Android fans, perverts, and a couple of people who are in the wrong place but asking for help anyway.

Re:And it will be called... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523111)

>hipster

I don't think you have any idea what the neighborhood entails and its history, specifically the Hotel Chelsea, in Chelsea.

*whacks you with a film can on which you can barely make out a label that once read "Chelsea Girls"*

--
BMO "Oh no it does not move me, even though I've seen the movie"

Stinkin' Chelsea (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42522771)

First they have this billionaire oligarch, then they just buy whatever players they want, then he keeps sacking managers...

We're talking about the same Chelsea, right?

Re:Stinkin' Chelsea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522913)

It's easy to get confused, they're both near the river ;)

Re:Stinkin' Chelsea (2)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523041)

The thing about Arsenal is, they always try an' walk it in.

Re:Stinkin' Chelsea (1)

uncool (799671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530359)

What was Wenger thinking sending Walcott on so early?

Re:Stinkin' Chelsea (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531157)

I never thought I'd see the day when EPL football was joked about on /.

Arsenal are a stain on the underpants of Football

#COYS

Re:Stinkin' Chelsea (0)

Pope (17780) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524173)

Clinton? Naw, her dad's not longer running the country.

Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (3, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42522849)

Chelsea is much larger than what the article relates. It encompasses the area (roughly) from 9th St (and that weird triangle area with Gansevoort) up to about 28th and from 5th Avenue to 12th (there is a 13th Ave but it's no longer accessible).

As someone further up suggested, Hipster Web.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (2)

Paul Slocum (598127) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523557)

I'm guessing that part of the choice for the location is that it overlaps with the part of the High Line park [thehighline.org] that has a lot of hangout areas and food vendors.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523577)

I'm sure it does. Only being a pedantic snit as others are on here when other subjects come up.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523879)

It's also not a coincidence that their New York Headquarters is right in the middle of that neighborhood...

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (3, Informative)

LordNicholas (2174126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524317)

This. Their NYC offices are the in the old Port Authority building at 111 8th avenue. Apparently they bought that particular building because there's a major fiber line that runs through it.

Source: I used to work out of the building before Google bought it.

Re: Google NYC HQ (2)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42525973)

For people not familiar with the building, it's 15 stories tall and fills the whole block, and has more total floor area than the Empire State Building. When the Port Authority outgrew this building, they built the World Trade Center to hold their offices.

If you fire up Google Earth for 111 8th Street, you will see that the service area for this wifi is all within 3 blocks of the building, and nearly all direct line of sight. An old cynic like me would say they did this so the Google staff could stay connected while going out to lunch or shop in the area. Google put in free wifi near their Mountain View headquarters too.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527175)

Chelsea is much larger than what the article relates. It encompasses the area (roughly) from 9th St (and that weird triangle area with Gansevoort) up to about 28th and from 5th Avenue to 12th (there is a 13th Ave but it's no longer accessible).

IMO, Chelsea runs from 6th all the way west (Flatiron is east of that), but doesn't include anything south of 14th. The WiFi area appears to be roughly centered on Google's building at 15th-16th from 7th to 8th.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527299)

The WiFi area appears to be roughly centered on Google's building at 15th-16th from 7th to 8th.

Migraines really mess up your thinking. Google's building runs from 8th to 9th... and it's where I work (though I had nothing to do with the wifi) so I should know better.

Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (1)

GoogleShill (2732413) | about a year and a half ago | (#42532735)

Chelsea Improvement already had decent free wifi in parks. I've hung out at 14th St with my laptop a couple of times and the internet was respectably fast. I really wish they'd run it further south down the Hudson River Park so I didn't have to walk so far.

Below 14th St is West Village/Meatpacking. Just as hipster, but not Chelsea.

Small problem (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42522871)

Dear Google,

How do you plan on overcoming internet dropping out for blocks around everytime someone wants to make some hot pockets?

Sincerely,
Unregulated Spectrum

Re:Small problem (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42522947)

Dear Google,

How do you plan on overcoming internet dropping out for blocks around everytime someone wants to make some hot pockets?

Sincerely,
Unregulated Spectrum

The relays will be running at enough power to cook a passing pigeon, so there's also the bonus of feeding street people nourishing hot meals.

also, if you stay in the area long enough you won't need a tanning bed!

Re:Small problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42525397)

Dear fucktardintraining,
 
Let us know when you get a few hundred, if not thousand, of engineering years under your belt and we'll sit down and discuss your ideas.
 
Sincerely,
 
Google's Electrical Engineering Department
 
PS. Get your head out of your ass.

great, just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522987)

more fucking radio waves and electrical fields

Diversify the Local Economy? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523193)

WTF, "diversify the local economy" of NYC?!? The only place I've ever been that has more for sale than NYC was Phnom Penh, Cambodia where I could buy B40 rockets [wikipedia.org] and hashish.

Re:Diversify the Local Economy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523857)

The only thing NYC produces are credit default swaps and crappy hockey [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Diversify the Local Economy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42524465)

There are 8 million assholes in the naked city. NYC is a giant fucking cesspool.

What's to prevent (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523243)

People from abusing this service.. p2p, spamming, snooping, etc... ?

why would they even care? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523407)

why should they care?
that's usually an issue of people abusing the service, not an issue of rolling out the service.

Re:why would they even care? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523457)

Until they get a subpeona for someone downloading child porn or downloading music.

If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

Re:why would they even care? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524753)

>If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

And it would be laughed out of the courtroom.

Show me one court case where someone was held criminally responsible for having open wireless and it was abused by a third party.

One.
Case.

I double-dog-dare you.

--
BMO

Re:why would they even care? (2)

miroku000 (2791465) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524915)

>If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

And it would be laughed out of the courtroom.

Show me one court case where someone was held criminally responsible for having open wireless and it was abused by a third party.

One. Case.

I double-dog-dare you.

-- BMO

This is kind of mixed. It appears that the MPAA will often back down if you run an open wifi defense. However, it might not work for a child porn defense. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2007/04/child-porn-case-shows-that-an-open-wifi-network-is-no-defense/ [arstechnica.com] http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/WiFi-Network-Shuttered-By-MPAA-ReOpens-105492 [dslreports.com]

Re:why would they even care? (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42525939)

1. Criminal. The RIAA cases are torts. There is a difference. Burden of proof is a lot less. Preponderence of the evidence versus beyond a reasonable doubt.
2. Perez was in posession of a huge pile of child porn on CDs.
3. If Perez *didn't* posess kiddie porn, and it was really a neighbor who was leeching and getting kiddie porn, all cases of the open wifi owner have shown that the open wifi owner was a *victim* of the third party who was committing the actual crime.

Kiddie porn traffic coming from an IP address is rightfully probable cause. It's really the only way to find the people who are leeching a signal and doing the actual crime.

I do have a problem with people stating, flat out, that having an open WiFi is tantamount to letting yourself wide open for kiddie porn charges or worse. If that was the case, we'd see McDonalds, Panera, and Starbucks close down their wifi. They haven't. No sane prosecutor would charge them with trafficking child porn, not because McD's, Panera, and Starbucks are large corporations, but because going after them does nothing about the actual trafficker.

It also ignores the fact that while child pornography is a strict posession kind of crime, we do still have this concept called mens rea where there has to be a guilty mind/intent for a crime to have been committed.

--
BMO

Re:What's to prevent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42525961)

I'd assume it would have QoS, application-level firewalls and IP blacklists to address this sort of thing. And these are tools that are available to even casual network administrators...I'd imagine the company with perhaps the most comprehensive index of the internet might have a few more tricks up their sleeves.

RIAA/MPAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523379)

So no problems with providing free wireless with no authentication when complaints start coming about copyright infringement?

Wiring for Wireless (3, Funny)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523485)

Wait, so they are wiring up the city in an attempt to make it wireless? Genius!

Is this from The Onion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523591)

Google is wiring Chelsea with wireless?

THAT should take too long.

Re:Is this from The Onion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42523701)

Shouldn't not should.

Dammit.

with my laptop in hand, (2)

nimbius (983462) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523609)

Internet access will come free of advertising, aside from a provider message from Google, and not require any sort of password.

and so began the great Pringles famine of Chelsea.

Re:with my laptop in hand, (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year and a half ago | (#42526127)

With lack of Pringles, the Hostess products going away, and limits on soda, the corner stores in Manhattan are going out of business. Think of the fat children!

Re:with my laptop in hand, (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42526493)

With lack of Pringles, the Hostess products going away, and limits on soda, the corner stores in Manhattan are going out of business. Think of the fat children!

Little Debbie for the win.

Re:with my laptop in hand, (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527003)

If you want a crackhouse filled with Little Debbie cakes--and, really who doesn't--you have to go further uptown [facebook.com] .

Tracking (3, Insightful)

systemidx (2708649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42523865)

While it says that it will come free from advertising, it DOESN'T say that you won't be monitored while connected. I'm certain they will recoup costs this way. Nothing is ever free.

Re:Tracking (3, Informative)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524161)

While it says that it will come free from advertising, it DOESN'T say that you won't be monitored while connected. I'm certain they will recoup costs this way. Nothing is ever free.

Encrypt your communications, no reason you shouldn't whenever you use wireless, free or otherwise.

Re:Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42534881)

So, this is really simple. Google wants its employees to have easy wifi-access outside the office, while in the same area as the office.

Now, they could go around and pay hefty sums of money to various places to allow them to put up equipment that only googlers could use.

Or they could team up, give out free wifi and suddenly get to build out their wifi network for their employees for close to nothing.

This makes sure that Googlers can go out and about, be in the park, eat lunch out, and so forth - while still have access to good wifi. And this - I'm pretty sure - is the basic reason behind the free wifi provided around the Google offices in NYC.

Digital Divide (2)

dsmann (2751439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524079)

How about wireless access for a lower income area of the city instead of one of its wealthiest? Most of the companies and residents in the area can afford high speed connections, so why not open up other neighborhoods like Upper Manhattan to neighborhood investment and in the interest of helping kids in low income areas gain access to broadband services for free?

Re:Digital Divide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42524499)

How about not routing any of it to the Internet? NYC should be firewalled from the civilized world.

Re:Digital Divide (1)

cjc25 (1961486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524825)

Practical reasons: Google's NYC office is a full block between 15th and 16th St and 8th and 9th Ave, in the north-east part of the coverage area. They probably are reusing some of the network infrastructure they built out already to support that office.

Re:Digital Divide (1)

PsyMan (2702529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42525045)

People in low income areas browsing/shopping/personal information is nowhere near as valuable for resale as those in wealthy areas I should imagine, I doubt they are doing it for any other reason than profit.

Re:Digital Divide (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527215)

How about wireless access for a lower income area of the city instead of one of its wealthiest?

Allow me to direct you to the Robert Fulton Houses, located between 16th and 19th and Ninth and Tenth. These fine establishments are run by the New York City Housing Authority for the benefit of New York's poorest citizens (and meanest pit bulls). In short, they are projects. So, poor people: covered.

Tin foil hat on... (0)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524459)

Anyone else worried at what all this radio saturation is doing to our insides? Bluetooth, Wifi, Cellular?

I'm looking at all the stuff on my desk and wondering how much of it is sending me to an early grave.

Re:Tin foil hat on... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531029)

Anyone else worried at what all this radio saturation is doing to our insides? Bluetooth, Wifi, Cellular?

I'm looking at all the stuff on my desk and wondering how much of it is sending me to an early grave.

I too used to worry far more about these radio signals, learned enough to be reasonably assured we're okay around it. Basically we humans are just 'bags of water' walking around. I just learned from the Science channel that 2 billion pieces of 'dark matter' pass through us every day, with only a few actually 'impacting' us.

FM radio waves have always passed through us. It bothers me more that some really bad music/talk radio has gone through me. :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_electronic_devices_and_health [wikipedia.org]

It's one way to deal with rogue ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42524487)

I expect more and more re-emptive move like this by Google: they know that rogue ISPs not respecting net neutrality and unable to provide their users the bandwith they paid for are their biggest threat.

That said I'm pretty sure there are countries like France where local corrupt politicians in bed with rogue ISPs (like free.fr, created by a "socialist" who's partly owning the biggest socialist newspaper lemonde.fr) would do anything they can to try and stop Google.

No matter how superior the service offered Google would be compared to rogue ISPs who can't even deliver YouTube videos properly...

Re:It's one way to deal with rogue ISPs (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42526617)

No matter how superior the service offered Google would be compared to rogue ISPs who can't even deliver YouTube videos properly...

Especially after Bloomberg regulates packet size.

it's about fucking time! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42524575)

'nuff said, yo.

Results from Mountain View, not promising for NY (2)

undeadbill (2490070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42524821)

My father in law has a Google wireless node outside of his house in Mountain View. He pays for DSL, because he hasn't found the signal to be strong enough, and the service hasn't been reliable or robust enough when he could get signal. Yes, he tried setting up a repeater, but that only got him the latter results. :\

I guess ya gets what ya pays for.

Re:Results from Mountain View, not promising for N (1)

sdriver (126467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42529061)

Sounds like he has had much better results then I do with Google's wireless in Mountain View.

I've lived at 3 different places in Mountain View, Google's free wifi is complete garbage.

Re:Results from Mountain View, not promising for N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42529263)

This really depends on *where* in Mountain View.

In general, I agree with you. Any well populated area in MV - it's crap. However, one of the hotels I stayed at had free wifi - and Google's wifi from the outside was *way* better. Full power from Google's wifi, and very, very fast and nice access.

That was the only place in MV I was able to connect to it, though. Very happy that it was so strong from my hotel room though.

Google strikes again! (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42525319)

Let's see... they are sharing the cost with some neighborhood group but you can bet that Google will receive 100% of the market research data, tracking data and web advertising benefits from this. All the while the people are using this thinking that it is a free service given to them gratis out of the goodness of a multibillion dollar giant.

Right.

Google has found a way to monetize the Internet in interesting ways that either haven't occurred to others yet or aren't available to others because they do not have the market reach. This allows them to give valuable stuff away apparently for free while all the time raking in huge amounts of money. Some disclosure might be nice here - like how much Google will make the first year of doing this. If this information became public it might inspire other companies to do likewise until everyone had their fill of apparently free stuff with huge hidden costs in privacy and tracking. Rolling out a city or two a year isn't going to show people the real downside to this tactic.

Re:Google strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42528803)

You can't monetize your own market data. Trading it for free internet seems like a good trade in my mind. Of course that is ever person's personal decision so don't use the service if you don't like it. Personally I would vpn into a private server first if I was using their wireless.

Re:Google strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42529099)

I will tell you exactly why google is doing this...

Their office is right there and they want their employees to have inet access when in the park. Why not make it generally available when the infrastructure is already deployed?

Re:Google strikes again! (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42532833)

Heh, They'll probably require a google account/gmail account, to logon to the free service.

Cost? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527451)

Why does it cost so little to build, and yet so much (relatively) to maintain? Just over 100K to built, and almost 50K annually to maintain?

Re:Cost? (1)

bjwest (14070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42528563)

Why does it cost so little to build, and yet so much (relatively) to maintain? Just over 100K to built, and almost 50K annually to maintain?

Probably, because it will take a few people a couple of months to install, and one or two permanent maintainers who have to be paid a yearly salary. Even with only one, however, $50,000 a year is way under what I think it will actually cost unless they duel or tri purpose the maintainer and dived his salary between projects. Once up and running, the only thing to do will be replace/reboot a transceiver every now and then, and they'd be fools to not have at least a 1% to 2% stock of spares.

Abuses? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42527673)

So this will be a free (as in beer) and anonymous WiFi? I wonder how there are going to cope with abuses.

Re:Abuses? (1)

bjwest (14070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42528609)

So this will be a free (as in beer) and anonymous WiFi? I wonder how there are going to cope with abuses.

A buttload of cameras and IP triangulation via the devices MAC?

Come on guy, do you not watch CSI/NCIS? With that much RF bouncing around, it wouldn't surprise me if they could identify you by your dental records.

Grindr for all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531813)

Grindr for all!

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