Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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

Google’s recent bid to offer free Wi-Fi at 300 kilobits per second across the city of San Francisco struck some as being far outside the company's area of expertise. So what's this company up to, anyway?

At least one answer -- and the one the company cops to -- is that it is intensely interested in providing location-specific searches and advertising. Such local advertising represents about 35 percent of print and broadcast advertising dollars spent in the U.S.

By providing a free Wi-Fi system, Google could provide localized searches and advertising to both desk-bound and mobile users. That would allow Google to win advertising dollars not just from national companies but also from coffee shops and other local merchants.

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.

  • 1