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Free Wi-Fi? What's Google Up to, Anyway?

While Google isn't talking specifics about the project, they do discuss their expectations about tying location to information.

"We are excited about the capability of Wi-Fi networks to provide the data that would underlie location-based services," Chris Sacca, Google's new business development point-person for this project, said in an interview.

Been There Before

Wi-Fi isn't the first attempt for Google to offer location-based information for roaming users. Google started out in the mobile phone and handheld space with their first service in 2000, and began rolling out a variety of additional features last year, noted Deep Nishar, Google's director of mobile strategies. While not focusing on road warriors, the company has introduced services that make sense for those with high-limit or unlimited SMS text messaging or WAP/data plans.

For starters, search requests can be sent via SMS to Google at GOOGL (46645), resulting in the top two matches, if any. (Yahoo's similar service is at YAHOO or 92466.)

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