Google Bidding To Provide Free Wi-Fi To San Francisco

Google has joined the competition along with 11 other companies including as
Earthlink to provide San Francisco residents and visitors with free wi-fi. San
Francisco expects to decide on a vendor within weeks. If Google is selected, it
says it could have a network up and running within weeks, as well. Google says
it doesn’t have plans to expand free wi-fi beyond San Francisco, though the
company has already
said previously
that it sees helping promote universal internet access as part of its corporate
mission. Below, a round-up of coverage on the news.

According to

Om Malik’s
post from Friday:

Google officials say San Francisco residents (and visitors) will enjoy a
free 300 kilobits per second, always on connection anywhere in the city. As
part of its proposal, the company says it will be offering wholesale access to
other service providers, who will offer higher throughput connections to their

Verne Kopytoff and Ryan Kim

in the SF Chronicle
add that Google isn’t the only company bidding on the

Google’s was one of more than a dozen competing bids received by the city
before its deadline Friday. Officials will review the submissions and decide
which, if any, of the candidates gets the green light…

The article goes on to mention that Google’s Chris Sacca, the person in
charge of Google’s bid, hasn’t determined yet if paid ads will be part of the
service but will sell access to the network for companies who want to offer paid
services. Coverage from the Associated Press is also

In case you’re wondering a spokesperson for the SF Mayor Gavin Newsome said
the decision would be made in weeks not months and that Google will receive NO
advantage because of their high profile (aka just being Google).

At this point I could ask what any of this has to do with search and
organizing the world’s info, but doing that is old, repetitive, and a waste of
time. Plus, Google is into what Google is into which is just about everything.
With their published corporate
mission statement
, they are able to spin just about anything into being
about organizing info and providing access to it. I even
joked about that
last April Fools Day. (Postscript from Danny: Google has said promoting
internet access is part of its corporate mission, as explained

A day after the news came out,
Google in San
Francisco: ‘Wireless overlord’?
from gives a rundown on what are
people saying. Some wonder about Google knowing to much about their users.

"They will know much more information about your activities" than they can
glean from a stationary PC, Ira Victor, managing partner for security
information firm Data Clone Labs, said in an interview.

One thing is for sure, this Wi-Fi info could provide truly "local" and if
required, time-sensitive search advertising if Google decided to provide ads.
You’re using Google Wi-Fi and hitting tower near the 1600 block of Market Street
at 11:20 am. Then, an ad appears asking you if you’re interested in walking just
a few steps and having lunch at the Zuni Cafe at 1658 Market St? If you make
reservations via the Google Reservation and Ticket Service (just guessing about
this initiative), you’ll get 10% off lunch, 20% if you come between 1-2:30pm.
You’ll also get a Google t-shirt (some autographed by Google execs), and a
chance to win a ride aboard the new NASAGOOGLE spaceship. Heck, if you’re also a
Google AdWords customer, they’ll knock a few bucks off of your next bill. (-:

By the way, Dan Gillmor
also touches on the Google vs. privacy issue in his blog post saying it’s an
issue that keeps appearing. More on that topic later.

Others in the blogosphere speculate what this might do to the telecom
industry and many agree that Google is once again driving innovation. Let’s also
not forget Google’s plans to build it’s own telecom network.

Of course, since Google’s bid is one of many and it will not be getting any
special attention (-:, we’ll have to wait and see if they even have the
opportunity to provide the service.

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