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Google Launches Free Wi-Fi In Hometown

Google on Wednesday launched free Wi-Fi service in its hometown of Mountain View, Calif.

Radios hanging from lampposts hung through out the city were broadcasting the wireless signal that provides Internet access to anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled computer. GoogleWiFi is available at no charge, but requires users to sign up for a Google Account, which is required for using most of the search engine's Web services.

"This network is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are," Minnie Ingersoll, product manager for the network, said in the company's blog.

In addition, the company said it hoped Mountain View would be an example for other places considering a public Wi-Fi network.

"We think successful mesh wireless deployments will promote competition, create cheaper access alternatives, and (if done correctly) foster open, standards-compliant platforms for content and service providers to showcase their applications without the hassle of the traditional walled-garden approach," Ingersoll said.

Besides Mountain View, Google is working with Internet service provider Earthlink in building a Wi-Fi network in San Francisco. Under the proposal accepted by the city this year, Google would have advertising rights to the free portion of the service, while Earthlink would offer a paid service.

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