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Google's San Francisco Pitch: Make WiFi, Not War!

A look under the covers of Google's proposal to provide free WiFi for San Francisco show the odd mix of above-the-fray, rhetorical idealism, and hard-nosed commercialism that we've come to expect from the search giant. But if Google wins the bid, it'll be its bottom-line orientation, not its high-minded ideals, that wins the day.
Let's start off with the idealism. Here's what its proposal says: "We believe that ubiquitous, affordable Internet access is a crucial aspect of humanity's social and economic development, and that working to supply free Wi-Fi is a major step in that direction."

Sounds like a 60's flashback to me: Make WiFi, not War! Groovy!

Google's heart is in the right place, but if it really wants to make the world a better place, I suggest it follow Bill Gates' example, and spend billions on philanthropic projects, like trying to eliminate disease in Africa.

I'm a big fan of WiFi, but the neediest among us tend not to carry around $2,000 laptops. And getting a free WiFi connection so they can be deluged with email offers to enlarge certain body parts is not high on their list of priorities.

If Google wins the bid, it'll be elsewhere in the proposal that wins it. The proposal says Google would build a 802.11b/g Wi-Fi mesh network to deliver more than 1 megabit per second bandwidth throughout San Francisco. When 802.11n comes out (sometime in the next millenium, no doubt), Google will upgrade to that service.

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