Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Offers Free WiFi for Mountain View, CA

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the right-price dept.

Google 137

Patik writes "AFP reports that Google is offering free wifi internet access to all 70,000 residents of its headquarter's hometown, Mountain View, CA. Google expects the entire city to be covered by next June. Basic access will be free while Google retains the right to charge for premium services. This comes after Google made a bid to provide free access for all of San Francisco (pop. 744,000) two months ago, although that city is still considering the bid."

cancel ×

137 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Google Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015675)

Googley goodness brought to you by wireless search technology.

Hmm.. next news item (1, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015684)

Microsoft Offers Free Wi-FI to Redmond, Wa

In light of a recent story about Google offering free Wi-Fi internet access to Mountain View, Ca, Microsoft has stated that it will start offering free Wi-Fi to its hometown of Redmond, Washington. This recent development....

Anonymous Coward to offer free WiFi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015772)

Yes, I, Anonymous Coward am announcing today, November 12th 2005 FREE 802.11a,b,g access to a certain (Anonymous) area of the world. Coverage will cover the greater (Anonymous) metropolitan region and I will be considering extending coverage to the suburban areas in Q3 2006.
This service is in direct anticipated response to Google offering "not evil" Wifi in random areas around the world and Microsoft offering "evil" Wifi in different areas.

Thanks for you support & "Faversham"
The Anonymous Coward Network Team. (TDz.)

Re:Hmm.. next news item (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015857)

Microsoft Offers Free Wi-FI to Redmond, Wa

Pfft. That's nothing; some nice people called "Linksys" already offer free unregulated wireless broadband in *any* large conurbation. Don't believe me? Just turn on your laptop wherever you go and I guarantee you there'll be an open access point with the SID "Linksys".

Lovely people.

Re:Hmm.. next news item (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015872)

Well, I don't have the Linksys free wireless here - but I can pick up free, unregulated wireless broadband service from their competitor, NETGEAR.

Re:Hmm.. next news item (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016139)

That's nothing; some nice people called "Linksys" already offer free unregulated wireless broadband in *any* large conurbation.

Don't forget "NETGEAR" and "Wireless". I see them all over the place, too.

-jcr

Re:Hmm.. next news item (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016239)

Also:
"Tsunami"
"smc"
"home"
"belkin"
"Panera"
"Apple"

Re:Hmm.. next news item (1)

Lux (49200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016662)

In my experience, the people of Mt. View are a bit more savvy than that. There are at least a half a dozen access points visible from my appartment. All are secured.

Kind of a bummer in that interim between moving in and the cable guy getting around to switching on the Internet, but otherwise rather refreshing.

Re:Hmm.. next news item (1)

killa62 (828317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016762)

In other news, Verizon plans to offer almost nationwide WI-fi coverage thru the westell modem/routers that they send to all their customers.

Re:Hmm.. next news item (1)

jrock-jr (880162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015965)

The article never goes into detail as to why google wants to blanket the city with its wireless. I feel sorry for the ISPs in that town....

sucks to be an ISP there (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015699)

I thought you guys were the champion of the mom & pop ISP...

Re:sucks to be an ISP there (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015796)

rabble rabble rabble!
dem Google took r isp!

funny how it is ok for the music industry to die because it has an antiquated model but on /. it isn't for ISPs, coders outsourced, etc...

Re:sucks to be an ISP there (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016114)

funny how it is ok for the music industry to die because it has an antiquated model but on /. it isn't for ISPs, coders outsourced, etc...

Insightful? And the parent as troll? That hardly seems fair. The parent wasn't trolling. The parent was pointing out a very ligitimate fact -- it sucks to be an ISP in that town. How the hell is that trolling? Would it be trolling if some company started handing out all the free food you could eat and I said "sucks to be Wegman's in that town"?

In any case I would have a very hard time using this "free" service. Given Google's privacy policies and the fact that they warehouse data forever would you really trust them with your Internet access? Newsflash: They can announce "don't be evil" all they want but they are in the business of making money.

Besides which, my ISP (Verizon) gained my everlasting respect when they refused to sell out a customer to RIAA. Think Google with their "we'll hand over any information if we are subpenoaed" would have fought that fight?

Aaaah! That explains it. (4, Funny)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015700)

I was wondering why this poll [slashdot.org] has not been replaced in nearly two weeks. The /. editors are waiting till the Google Wifi comes online so that they can add another option ...

[*] I live in Mountain View, you insensitive clod!

Just wait till the Bay Area wireless comes online and that poll choice will make the others pale into insignificance.

Re:Aaaah! That explains it. (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016018)


I was wondering why this poll has not been replaced in nearly two weeks.

Serenity NOW!!! :)

Just wait till the Bay Area wireless comes online

How long will it be until Google blankets the entire nation? I sure hope they get over here to the east coast pretty soon, cause I'm paying through the nose for Adelphia.

(And on top of that, someone's been making a habit of posting bad comments from my subnet lately. I need a new IP.)

five years down the line... (0, Troll)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015705)

...not long after Google World Domination (TM) (Beta) is released, we'll be reading Slashdot stories like this:

"AFP reports that Google is offering free sewerage disposal to all 70,000 residents of its headquarter's hometown, Mountain View, CA. Google expects the entire city to be covered by next June. Basic disposal will be free while Google retains the right to charge for premium services."

This could certainly explain Google's interest in dark fiber.

Why? (2, Interesting)

jshaped (899227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015706)

yeah, i'll probably be mod'd troll or whatever,
but why is google doing this?
(what are their secret motives?)

i rtfa, and all i found was: "Under the terms of the deal, the basic wireless internet access would be free, but Google could charge users fees for premium services."

so why would google spend so much money to provide this with possibly/probably little return?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

evil agent (918566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015731)

If you connect to Google's WiFi, then they know where you are. Then they can target you with location-specific advertising.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

ozydingo (922211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015760)

Probbaly more than that, too; they'll most likely keep a database of what ip addresses visit which sites how often, thus further boosting their ability to taget people with specific ads.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

TheCreeep (794716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015820)

Now this could be the mother of all targeted advertisments. Immagine yourself in a park in Mountain View surfing the web with on your laptop when you see a google add like "Fancy a hot, seamy, cup of coffe? Try Peggie's place around the corner."
Or looking at some AMD benchmarks with an add telling you the nearest hardware shop.
That would rock!

Re:Why? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016320)

Fancy a hot, seamy, cup of coffe?

Uh...

Mountain View isn't in England. It's in California, dude. They don't say "fancy" there. Unless, of course, they're after the British tourists.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Decameron81 (628548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015905)

"If you connect to Google's WiFi, then they know where you are. Then they can target you with location-specific advertising."


They get more benefits than just that though. By offering their WiFi service for free they are investing on their image. They are telling people that Google cares about them. Many people think that it all comes down to making money today whatever it takes, but Google's stance goes more along the lines of maintaining their reputation and gaining people's trust. Sometimes at the expense of short term advantages.

And not only this is good for us, it's even better for Google to be perceived as a friendly company in a pool of sharks. No wonder they are what they are today.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016373)

Fear the day they stop thinking it is good to look nice.

Re:Why? (1)

nicktripp (717517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015960)

Ooooor they can advertise you for location-specific targeting.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016096)

They grab location info from wherever they can as it is. You may have noticed if you've connected from a university IP block that you get adverts specific to that university's home town. Simiarly, if you use Google Maps, then the places you look at are used as source data for a short while - I used the maps place to find the way from my girlfriend's house to the nearest Apple Store, and the next time I searched for restaurants it prioritized ones close to where I was. Quite neat really.

Re:Why? (1)

psavo (162634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016278)

If you connect to Google's WiFi, then they know where you are. Then they can target you with location-specific advertising.

That's a bit funny way to say it, but yeah, they're probably going to make whatever ads they serve more relevant

Re:Why? (1)

xPosiMattx (797462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016439)

There's more to it than that really. By being your ISP they would have access to every site or connection you make on the internet, and therefore would have a more effective data mining solution than doubleclick.net or the like, with out being nearly as intrusive on the user's computer (or be blockable via plugins like ad-block, or denying cookies).

I'm not sure what the privacy policy of this service would be, but I see this as being about the same level of intrusiveness as adds targeted to you based on the emails you receive on gmail.

Re:Why? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015757)

> but why is google doing this? (what are their secret motives?)

So, Google is going to blanket every square inch of their home city with "Wi-Fi antennas" eh?
Turn their home town into an Internet "hot-spot" eh?
All at "no charge" eh?
Pass the tinfoil.

Simple: (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015868)

PR and "community relations".

This will be a good thing for community relations. Some companies sponsor the local sports clubs or arts groups. This is another way.

It's also on slashdot, NBC, Yahoo and all sorts, giving lots of PR.

It might also yield some results as a social experiment.

All this for what cost? Bandwidth for 70,000 people and setting up a few hundred hotspots. Maybe a million bucks a year? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

NCraig (773500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015913)

yeah, i'll probably be mod'd troll or whatever, but why is google doing this? (what are their secret motives?)
I doubt they have any "sinister" intentions. Giving free WiFi to an entire city is good marketing. Hell, it's amazing marketing. Google is continuing to position itself as the knight in shining armor in anticipation of competition with Microsoft.

Who would you rather do business with? On one hand, you have the company that brought free internet to the huddled masses. On the other, the big evil company that not only caused your Grandma's credit card number to get stolen, but also happens to be the Devil's liaison on Earth.

Remember: do no evil.

Not that either company is all bad or all good. Furthermore, the bigger Google gets, the more they'll begin resembling Microsoft. As Google becomes more and more information thirsty, I can't wait to see the information-wants-to-be-free-but-privacy-is-a-god- given-right heads explode.

It'd be nice to live in Mountain View, though.

Minority Report,... on the way? (1)

rolandog (834340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015920)

"Hi John Anderson, it looks like you could do with a Guinness!"

Re:Why? (1)

alex4u2nv (869827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015931)

Also, maybe for better delivery of their services such as maps.google.com and video.google.com (im not sure how this work, but I think they're caching the videos and streaming from their servers), picasa/blogger and other high content media services they provide. Being a subnet of google's network, I presume, yeilds a more efficient, and a bit faster connection for the people in that area, since data is routed internally when communicating with google's serivces, as opposed to others.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016022)

Google is squarely and purely in the information business. It consumes information, does its magic and spew transformed information. Just like a mining operation digs for ore, refines it and produces high-quality grade metal.

Now, as with most everything, you have to get to the information in a very active and dilligent way if you want to find the raw input to your business. They've simply outgrown what they can gather from public-and-anonymous sources and need to go personal and track individuals. Their business plan is to create a market place where the advertisers are found (not the other way around, yay) by the consumers. Their novel technology is to do that through contextual relevancy. The more information they have about the advertisers, consumers, AND their relation, the more everybody is happy. That's a nice logical business plan, if there ever was one.

ATTENTION: Life shattering revelations below, the surgeon general suggests that light hearted people stop reading now.

Will they ever have enough information? No, even though there will be diminishing returns.
Will they ever limit themselves? Probably, they're bound by the law
What about those that arent's bound by law? Bingo, you've hit the real question.

Technology and Science are, as we like to repeat, agnostic. We like to think that Google is a good corporate citizen, but the Pandora Box is open. Everybody salivates at this new fangled datamining thing and the rewards it promises. Walmart is starting to dig to improve the relevancy of their offerings in a store-by-store fashion, analysing who buys what, where, when. Soon everybody will be doing it. It's not bad per se, it's just that when one player records your habits and breaches your privacy, you have the choice to shop somewhere else and if you still buy there, you've implicitly given away your privacy on certain things. When everybody does this, you have no choice anymore. And when Walmart buys Equifax or something your life is not yours any longer, decisions and opportunities are out of your hands. You see only the products you're likely to buy, you listen to shows/music that will "most likely" keep you hooked. Your whole life is a customized program built to maximise revenues. It's not that you're not free or don't have any choices, it's just that you don't know they exist. It stops being a free market and we become guinea pigs in a maze.

I'm an optimistic, I think the maze will be quite confortable and satisfying. ;)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016323)

Because, all plans and talk aside, no one's really done it.

It's a large scale research project to look into the feasibility and economics of large scale full coverage urban wireless Internet access.

The expect to lose money but learn a lot. It's the kind of data that you can only acquire by experimenting. They're not even sure what they'll learn. After all, if anyone knew, there wouldn be no research needed.

Mountain View is convenient since Google is located right on it's edge and it's flat and small. They'd like S.F. to be another research project. It's hilly, has tall buildings but is still relative small so they'll learn different things while keeping it as manageable as possible. There's hundreds of Google employees living in SF to help "test" and it's only 35 miles up the road from Mountain View.

The goal is data, not immediate pofit.

Think about it, Google's run by a couple of smart grad students and a PhD. Smart people, relatively "non-evil", and lots of cash. May be an interesting experiment. It will likely be dull as hell for everyone outside of the engineers (but will spawn many very passionate slashdot articles, none the less).

Re:Why? (1)

theblueprint (749157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016530)

but why is google doing this?

Well, people who aren't connected to the internet can't make them money.

Gah! (0, Offtopic)

AntiTuX (202333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015709)

Why couldn't they have done this like.. 3 years ago when I was still living there?!

Grr. Now I'm stuck in the cultureless wasteland known as Phoenix Arizona. Least mountain view has a history to it. SGI, Netscape, Cobalt, Handspring... Phoenix has crackheads and cactuses. God's ashtray. Least the rent's cheap.

I'm so friggin jealous, minus the rent prices out there.

Re:Gah! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015826)

You miss SF?

Oh, then you're probably a fucking fag, aren't you?

Re:Gah! (2)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015843)

BAH! You get warmth all year round, that has to count for something. It's getting towards "freeze your ass off" season here in the Northeast and real Spring won't come until April.

Be grateful you live in God's Ashtray.

Year 'round warmth (1)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016534)

You get warmth all year round, that has to count for something.

It does:
- Constantly sweating your asses off

- seasons? what are seasons?

- Thousands of geriatrics driving their golf carts to the store, all the while complaining that 85 degrees is just too damn cold

- $250 a month electric bills from aunning aforementioned air conditioning

- Lets buy all the water from Colorado!

- No, really, I WANT the dashboard of my car to bake and crack wide open.

- get all hot and sweaty while outside, then freeze your balls off when you hit nthe wall of air conditioning - POOF Instant Illness!

- Its an amazingly beautiful area, if you like brown. Lots and lots of brown. Hey, les make all the houses brown, too!

- Goofballs lining their Driveways with paper bags with candles in them at christmas time

- Hey, lets force midwest-style lawns of grass to grow where it has no goddamn business being.

Re:Gah! (1)

fgmr (861233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015906)

A week or two ago there were news stories saying that Google is creating an engineering center in or around Phoenix. So maybe if you hang on a little while longer you'll get your free wireless..

Re:Gah! (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016098)

Hey man, I'm a Phoenixian too. Just know that you're not alone in this hellpit of torment and pain.

Re:Gah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016166)

Please. I live in Palo Alto. Homeless everywhere, broken freeways, lousy schools, shitty to no mass transit. There is absolutely nothing special about the Bay Area, except the stench. People who live here have their heads so far up their asses it's not even funny. My friends can't imagine why I'm moving elsewhere in two months. After all, I could own a fucking shack here for only $1,000,000!

Considering what a hole the Bay Area is right now, it's hard to imagine how awful it will be 15 years from now once all the companies move to India. Better the big one come before then and reduce the entire place, and all the Stanford assholes, to rubble.

Re:Gah! (1)

Izrath (922686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016516)

The Phoenix valley is great. No weather problems at all. We get a wall of dust every few years. The heat is nothing after living here for awhile. And I don't know where you get the cultureless part from... I am pretty sure Arizona State was voted the #1 party university in the nation. And it damn sure is the #1 university for hot chicks. Go down to Fat Burger on Mill for lunch and watch the scenery. Thats all the culture you need.

Note to Google (5, Funny)

scsa (929805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015717)

Don't forget, your European HQ is in Dublin, Ireland. Can we have free Wifi too please?

Re:Note to Google (1)

DDiabolical (902284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015786)

Yeah right.

Ireland only just got carrier pigeons, as if you have any use for WiFi.

Re:Note to Google (1)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015800)

Search results are carried on a string, held by two pidgeons flying together.

Re:Note to Google (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015834)

I'm foreseeing some latency problems, and the bandwidth can't be too good, but at least you never drop a connection until your neighbor decides to go hunting.

Re:Note to Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015871)

Google already employs the use of pigeons for their search engine so why not for WiFi???

http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html [google.com]

Re:Note to Google (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015891)

I'm foreseeing some latency problems, and the bandwidth can't be too good, but at least you never drop a connection until your neighbor decides to go hunting.

No, no. The pigeons are the Data-link/physical layers used for carrying the IP packets. If one packet goes missing, the TCP layer simply resends it, and you won't notice any problem. Except for an additional 12 hour delay, obviously.

Are you American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015954)

"Ireland only just got carrier pigeons, as if you have any use for WiFi."

You're American right?

I think I get why (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015720)

You could say it's about advertisements. After all, the more people on the Internet, the more people searching Google, so the more money they make, right?

But there's another side, and depending on how they do it, it could either be interesting or scary. I'm betting on the Interesting, but -

With this service, Google will be able to track where everyone in this service goes, and then sell that data to others. Odds are, this would be like Tivo does it: track trends and report anonymous information. So if someone wants to figure out that people who watch "Monster Garage" also watch a lot of "Veronica Mars", they can throw up some he-man car adds on the later show to try and capture those eyeballs.

In the same way, Google could sell anonymous research data to other firms. Something like "people who tend to visit Slashdot also tend to visit digg.com, news.google.com, etc". They don't have to give out individual "this person searched for this", but just trends - even searchable trends, like saying "these web sites reported on this item, and here's what the breakdown of those people who went to that site or searched for that item visited".

Far more effective than the questionaires of "what computer gaming sites do you visit?". With Google providing the access, they can just tell the marketers directly.

Anyway, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015808)


With this service, Google will be able to track where everyone in this service goes, and then sell that data to others... Far more effective than the questionaires of "what computer gaming sites do you visit?". With Google providing the access, they can just tell the marketers directly.

Cmdr Taco needs a new category of karma nirvana; something along the lines of "+6 BINGO! YOU WIN!"

Re:I think I get why (4, Insightful)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015897)

True, they could sell it. But they could also data mine it for their own purposes. Right now they have a limited portion of any user's activity, after they disappear off of Google.com it's anyone's guess what they do. Imagine just how much the Google engineers would love to have access to entire browsing histories for thousands of users that is months long. All uniquely identified by their MAC address and/or login credentials and location tracked to within a few hundred feet based on which AP they're accessing. Any data miner worth their salts would love to get their hands on that. Like a giant maze with several thousand live rats. And who better to use that data.

Google could:
1. Identify emerging trends and buy into them.
2. Serve more targeted ads (AdSense).
3. Offer location based services (Dodgeball).
4. Improve search results.
5. Sell the data.

Re:I think I get why (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016618)

Right now they have a limited portion of any user's activity, after they disappear off of Google.com it's anyone's guess what they do.

Well, not completely. If the pages that the user goes to have adsense on them, google can very well see that.

Re:I think I get why (1)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015977)

Frankly, I like trends. Usually trends involve large amounts of people. I might just be part of that large amount of people. And if ads cater to trends, they might just cater to me. As long as it's anonymous and I don't have to do any work I don't care, research away.

Re:I think I get why (1)

Pengo (28814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016111)

Yup, same model I am sure they are using with the GoogleCache proxy and WiFi secure tunneling software.

What is this was Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015725)

When I first saw this, I thought "gee, Google's providing free net access - good for them". If this had been Microsoft, I would have been more likely to think "damn Microsoft - instant monopoly. Bastards". I actually didn't think about that until an earlier poster mentioned MS above.

Whatever you feel about MS/Google, its interesting to see how having a "don't be evil" rather than a "make lotsa money quick" mantra from the outset colours people's view of any plans you put forward in later years.

Or maybe I'm just easily brainwashed, who knows ;)

Re:What is this was Microsoft? (5, Informative)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015743)

Microsoft is providing free Wifi access in Marymoor Park [metrokc.gov] in Redmond.

Re:What is this was Microsoft? (4, Funny)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015778)

Of course, you know this is just so they can gain a stranglehold on the wi-fi market in that area. Typical MS, always out to crush small business.

Re:What is this was Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016113)

if*

More like "What was this Microsoft?" (2, Interesting)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016200)

I could see MS being frightened of this if free WiFi access becomes widespread, and for good reason. If WiFi becomes nearly universally available, then web-based apps for things other than email access will be truly practical as replacements for and competitors to locally-installed apps. (Think of an ultra-cheap subscription-based or free Google-hosted OpenOfficeOnline over universally free broadband vs. locally-installed MS Office.)

Google already has some good experience in this. Just take a look at Google Earth [google.com] , which has a small local component that combines with a silky-smooth connection to Google's data. The thing is a just beautiful replacement for locally-installed mapping software (such as MS Streets and Trips). In general, online mapping software is pretty good. The only thing that really keeps people buying locally-installed map software is that they may need it when there's no web connection available. Make WiFi universally available, and that factor is a thing of the past. -- Paul

Loss Leader (2, Insightful)

Giant Robot (56744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015730)

How can google profit from this venture? The article doesn't say what kind of "premium services" they are going to charge for, but I wouldn't see what services the average google-wifi user will pay for that the non-google wifi user won't.

Re:Loss Leader (1)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016573)

How can google profit from this venture? The article doesn't say what kind of "premium services" they are going to charge for, but I wouldn't see what services the average google-wifi user will pay for that the non-google wifi user won't. You've got to be kidding. Google, first and foremost, is an advertising company. Right now, the only data available to Google is from searches using their service. Just think of the data mining possibilities of a Google ISP. Oh look, 15% of our users visit this site on a regular basis. We now have statistics to show a company in order to pursuade them to use our advertising services. This paticular user, who is identified by their MAC address, loves the Asian Midget Porn. Let's target advertisements to this user when they make searches. This is the one reason why I will never use free internet access at home. A company is not going to provide a free service and expect nothing in return. I pay for internet access because I expect a level of privacy. If my expectations are broken, I can take my business to another company.

I always wondered... (1, Interesting)

Chickenofbristol55 (884806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015733)

Why a company (google or whomever), doesn't give free wifi to a whole state. Take New Jersey for example, highest population per square mile, 1030 to be exact. Which is 13 times the national average. Instead they're giving free wifi to cotton plant Arkansas (or similar places).

Let the disagreements begin. 3...2...1... go!

Re:I always wondered... (1)

1cem4n (928083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015824)

cuz new jersey is just new york's trash can, duh. :-p

Re:I always wondered... (1)

Jules Mercuri (921249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016095)

Eh, we've got free Wi-Fi already in New Jersey. Too many stupid rich people with open access points... walk around Fort Lee or Alpine with a PDA and you'll see what I mean. I would love to see free Wi-Fi in Hudson County (the densest county in the country) though. Not only 'cause I'm from there either... a lot of people can't afford monthly cable or DSL. A one-time $30 charge for a USB adapter is easier to stomach for families in HC than $500 a year for wireline broadband.

Re:I always wondered... (1)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016232)

Well, the usual reason is that the same density that makes New Jersey easier to cover also makes it easier to wire. So the problem of getting high-speed net access is pretty much solved there already.

Cotton Plant Arkansas, however, is just too much in the middle of nowhere to get effective wired data, so wireless really is the only choice.

how nice (2, Interesting)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015738)

"but Google could charge users fees for premium services." and what would these consist of ... I mean you either have free web access or not, hard to see what their going to charge for unless they cut off basic services that people need (ie: browsing off google related sites) . their going to have to start finding ways to profit from other things to justify their share price, they cant stay fully reliant on adsense so it should be interesting to see how they profit from this.

Re:how nice (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015815)

Speed differential. Free could be one meg speeds whereas premium could be five megs and gps integration.

Re:how nice (2, Informative)

krray (605395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015847)

It all depends on how they deploy this. They may offer with their free service a NAT address (such as 169.254) via DHCP and limit your bandwidth speed. Absolutely great service for the typical user who just wants to browse the web and check their [G]Mail account.

Premium service could be a static IP address [fed from their fiber network], a 10Mbit uplink (symmetrical), primary and/or secondary DNS services, backup MX'ing, VoIP, etc. I pay $65/mo (wireless) for this exact type of service...And after comparing it to the SBC/Comcast offering(s) am more than happy to pay the "premium" for rock solid reliable service (which SBC's service is NOT).

Google has a _lot_ of room to go into the premium services with basic connectivity offered for free.

D'Oh!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015784)

I just moved to Boston FROM Mountain View! Drat!

Is there anything... (0)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015793)

...that Google wouldn't offer?

Re:Is there anything... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016492)

Evil, for one.

Google (1)

jsmucker (812692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015798)

Its just google's way to take over the world ....bwahaaaaaaaahaaaahaaaa

G-Wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015805)

Free wireless access for all with G-Wi! The only downside is that searchable text of all of your wireless transmissions will be stored in a database. But its free! Woohoo! :)

Anonymous Coward to offer free WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015812)

Yes, I, Anonymous Coward am announcing today, November 12th 2005 FREE 802.11a,b,g access to a certain (Anonymous) area of the world. Coverage will cover the greater (Anonymous) metropolitan region and I will be considering extending coverage to the suburban areas in Q3 2006.
This service is in direct anticipated response to Google offering "not evil" Wifi in random areas around the world and Microsoft offering "evil" Wifi in different areas.

Thanks for you support & "Faversham"
The Anonymous Coward Network Team. (TDz.)

I live in Mountain View (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015839)

Where can I get an invite?

National Tryouts (2, Interesting)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015841)

Google has been buying an awful lot of dark fiber. I'm looking forward to them using it to offer free basic internet access across our nation. The large providers still don't offer any broadband connectivity options outside large cities. I'm in a rural area and there is no broadband option for me. Belive it or not the best option here is... AOL

Other providers in the area don't even have dial up at a flat rate price. It's all dial up you pay for by the hour. Through a combination of Wi-Fi and IP over Powerlines, I'd love to see Google offer basic connectivity to the nation. Talk about not being evil! Then let google, the cable companies, and phone companies offer fiber to the home for those willing to pay for even more speed. It might be nice to see some actual broadband connections in the United States. Other countries are way ahead of us here!

SF already has free Wi-Fi (4, Informative)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015849)

San Francisco has had free Wi-Fi [archive.org] for quite some time. I had the pleasure of meeting Ralf Muehlen, one of the primary contributors, when I donated equipment to the project last year.

What's interesting is that there's no reason why a lot of Internet access shouldn't be free. We don't pay a service charge for broadcast radio and television. There's an argument that Wi-Fi should be more like HAM radio -- you buy your equipment and your're online. Developments in mesh networking, especially where it's possible to relay through multiple nodes could help make this a reality. Of course we'd still need the wired backbone.

Of course there are a lot of special interests working against this. Not least, the FCC (backed by the current fee based providers) who are adamant about keeping power limititation extremely low for the ISM unlicensed spectrum. Of course the cell phone compainies have no problem blasting at thousands of times more power than we can. But that's life in politics I guess.

Be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years, especially with the advent on 802.16.

Please get in touch with someone from sflan if you can contribute bandwidth, equipment, or technical expertise. It's a really good cause.

Re:SF already has free Wi-Fi (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016009)

We don't pay a service charge for broadcast radio and television.

You don't because the broadcasting company has paid, instead of making you pay... With something like satellite TV/Radio, you DO pay a service charge.

There's an argument that Wi-Fi should be more like HAM radio -- you buy your equipment and your're online.

Ham radio works because the very low-bandwidth signals can be transmitted across the globe without any infrastructure.

For the internet, someone will have to pay. That mean's everyone's tax dollars. You'll still be paying for the internet, and people who don't use the internet will also be paying for it. Everyone gets the same crappy level of service, and those who max out their connection constantly still only pay as much as those who never use it at all.

Inexpensive wireless technologies promise to make internet access faster and much, much cheaper... but not free.

Re:SF already has free Wi-Fi (1)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016835)

What if we had a wireless internet infrastructure fee that was charged to businesses operating over the internet and then applied toward building a national wireless network? Maybe that smacks of big government scariness, but it seems like the only way to get widespread internet coverage beyond waiting for every municipality to do it one by one or waiting for the cellular companies to do it. Universal high-speed wireless internet access would do so much in the way of communication and the economy, it would be worth it.

what about other free offers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016496)

like a free iPod? go here and sign up. http://ipods.freepay.com/?r=24891521 [freepay.com] it works!

Re:SF already has free Wi-Fi: nope we don't (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016502)

There is a good likelihood of finding an open network because of housing density in SF, but the network you linked to pretty clearly does not serve very much of the City. Look at the map: half of the nodes are listed as unreachable, and it looks like 90% of the "system" is a few neighbors in twin peaks and the marina.

SF needs a comprehensive network you can get most everywhere, run by somebody with accountability. Neighbors move and change their mind.

Also, there are some legal issues with providing your own free internet access that makes it a risky thing for individuals to try to do as a grass roots plan.

I was thinking about Google and their mostly free services, and it occurred to me that Google is the 21st century equivalent to the Hearsts and other newspaper empires of a century ago. They provided free or mostly free access to information using advertiser's money. In doing so, they informed the world and lubricated the economy while making money themselves.

It's good to see Google trying to get rich providing free services, not trying to ding individuals into PPV $2 ring tones and other bullshit like expiring songs like Sony, Microsoft and the cell phone companies.

Damn! (1)

Markintosh (883912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14015856)

Now I'm gonna have to google "world's biggest pringles can".

Tech Support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14015968)

Does this basic service come with technical support for the idiots that say things like, "My computer's broken! I demand you fix it!"?


I work at a small ISP and if Google offered service in my area the tech department would easily be cut in half to make up for the lost revenue. Scary.

San Francisco Wi-Fi (1, Offtopic)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016006)

Are people really going to be out in the streets using free wi-fi?

For a while, I'm sure. Eventually, as blood runs deeper in the streets of San Francisco due to their new city-wide weapons ban, I'd imagine that most of the time they'll be hiding out in their houses next to their wired connections.

Re:San Francisco Wi-Fi (5, Funny)

ievans (133543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016311)

I live in San Francisco, and not a day goes by that I don't see a cackling criminal hellbent on destruction, twirling his mustache, about to cause untold carnage with a firearm, only to be thwarted by a civilian carrying a legal, licensed handgun. It's truly a sight to behold. The only thing keeping San Francisco from turning into Lagos is the vast handgun toting populace, not the police, not the legal system. And now we've gone ahead and ruined it.

It'll be just like the veritable river of blood that is...London, England.

Disclaimer: I voted against the handgun ban, but give me a break.

Re:San Francisco Wi-Fi (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016343)

It was a joke. Maybe SF needs free sarcasm detectors along with its free wi-fi. :)

Although...
a) Most crime deterred by gun ownership involves the knowledge that retailiation is possible, and not actually drawing a gun.
b) London has its trouble spots and stories.
c) Counter-example: Austrailia.

And the DS users in the area rejoice. (1)

supremespleen (915534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016014)

I wish I had free wifi or a wifi router. I've got to buy one or the Nintendo USB adapter. Although, maybe my neighbors have wifi.

GOOGLEnet of doom! (1)

alphastryk (929216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016056)

The GOOGLEnet is coming! Beware! Soon the whole world will be envelpoed by the evil wifi blanket...doom apporaches!

Re:GOOGLEnet of doom! (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016276)

The GOOGLEnet is coming! Beware! Soon the whole world will be envelpoed by the evil wifi blanket...doom apporaches!

SWEET!!! God bless evil.

Palo Alto (2, Informative)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016066)

Note that in Palo Alto, you can get free wireless access courtesy of a community wireless mesh network, pafree.net (you can guess what their URL is).

Naw, not in SF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016344)

San Francisco is messed up. We pass an proposition to not have guns in the city...like that is going to help anything. We allow gay marriage. Great move Gavin. What's next? Free WiFi? Naw......

Permanent Records? (5, Insightful)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016520)

Hey, I don't know about the rest of you but Google's just about got all my info pegged down. Gmail stores my records, I'm always logged in so my search history is right there. With google home page they have the weather of the town I live in, my favorite news feeds and they know I like the vocabulary word of the day front and center. My bookmarks section is minimalist, but most telling are links to other free email accounts. They know who my contacts are, they know who I invite to gmail.

Has it ever occured to anyone that gmail is the most comprehensive (I think "pay for" MSN gives you three total addresses) email account that by nature gathers statistical relationship information on the users at SIGNUP. Gmail's signup record is a complete model of that whole six degrees of seperation theory. As it is, when I google Pr0n I Log the f*ck out; I have to; my search history is used for my search results. I use my Google home page at school (college) I do not want to get kicked out of a lab for Googling fsck. Most importantly I do not want pr0n based ads showing up everywhere. I have kids remember.

With free internet service provided by Google I would be totally on record no ifs, ands, or buts about it; they would be able to say "hey this guy doesn't like Pr0n showing up on his search history, lives in (insert town, state, and address here), must have had a divorce last year, oh there it is his lawyer's email is xxxx@gmail.com, is a student, has kids, frequently uses google for spelling help (determined by a misspelled word searched and no results clicked, common search pattern -posts online a bit maybe), and many other things I can't even fathom,etc...".

I love google they do a great job but it's a corporation, corporations are notorious for screwing people when they can, a corporation is a business entity that is held accountable for people's actions, that business entity is by nature psychopathic. I find this service wraps up google's statistical sources and Google seems intent on KEEPING their information FOREVER, so long as they can legally get away with it. I know the terms of gmail when I signed up, and I know how to avoid what I don't want. I like it that way.

Naive Question (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016568)

I haven't been keeping up with new technologies, so here are some naive questions:

1. Is it possible for more than one WiFi router to cover a given hotspot?
2. If so, how would the client choose which router to use?
3. How many routers could occupy a hotspot before service is seriously harmed?

I'm wondering about the implications of Google offering free WiFi service along with a paid premium service. Would a different provider be able to provide competing services for the same area?

The article forgot to mention the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016621)

Welcome to G-Spot(tm)

Google Secure Access? (2, Funny)

Traegorn (856071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016655)

Having a little bit of Deja Vu here, as I seem to remember hearing about something like this quite some time ago.

With a little digging, I found this: https://wifi.google.com/download.html [google.com]

Bring it on! (2, Interesting)

tji (74570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016779)

I live in Mountain View, so I'm very interested to see what the offering will hold. I'll also be interested to see how wireless network access holds up on a large scale deployment with lots of users. Sharing a wireless network in a household with one to six people is easy. But, when I'm trying to access Google's wireless network along with all of my neighbors, will it withstand the load?

Google has huge bandwidth to their corporate site.. What kind of bandwidth will the wifi network have on the backend? It could be very interesting if the 802.11G wifi has a big pipe servicing it, then it becomes more attractive than my existing 3+Mbps cable service.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>