Is Google Wifi around the corner? Rumours are flying that Google is secretly setting up a unbiquitous free wifi service (which Aunty now officially christens “Goog-fi”) which would allow users anywhere to access the Internet (and Google, of course) for free from any wifi-enabled device. Well, maybe almost anywhere.
The rumours were given legs when Google partnered with San Francisco-based startup Feeva to blanket San Francisco’s Union Square with free Goog-fi, although that aspect of the rumour has conveniently overlooked the fact that Feeva is the company formerly known as UnwireNow, and they had already partnered with the City of San Francisco to provide – wait for it – free wifi in Union Square.
That said, however, Feeva’s CEO has confirmed that there is ongoing work with Google, although mum’s the word as to what it is. Also, as Business 2.0 notes, Google has been busy snatching up what Business 2.0 calls “miles and miles of ‘dark’ or unused fiber-optic cable across the country”, while at the same time there are reports that Feeva is getting ready to bring free wifi (Goog-fi?) spots online in other parts of California, as well as in New York, Florida, and Washington.
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The thing is that, as preposterous as it may sound on first blush, a universal Goog-fi service makes so much sense on so many levels. Google already has the wherewithall to serve up targeted ads. They have Google maps. They have Froogle. They have pretty much anything that someone sitting in spot X could want to know about spot X, and they have advertisers who want to reach that person sitting in spot X. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop in midtown, logging into your Goog-fi account to find out where the nearest boutique is. You’ll naturally Google to find nearby boutiques, and use Google maps to get you to the boutique of your choice. At the same time, you’ll be delivered targeted ads not just for trendy clothing shops, but trendy clothing shops right near where you are sitting. Or maybe you’re apartment hunting in the area, and you’ll get targeted ads for rental agents, or maybe even vacant apartments, right in that very neighborhood.
And hey, how many times a day do you say “if I just had an Internet connection so that I could Google it…”? With such a rumoured Goog-fi you can have that Internet connection anytime, anywhere (well, again, almost).
In fact, with all the rumours, hype, and possibilities swirling, if Google hadn’t already been planning Goog-fi, they’re probably thinking about it now!
On a related note, one cool thing which I discovered about Feeva is this, from their website:
Apply for free wireless internet access for your business or organization.
If you qualify, we will provide you with all the necessary software and equipment to provide customized wireless (WiFi) internet access at no charge to you or your customers.”
Nifty, eh? You can apply for your free wireless Internet access package here.
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