In Mountain View, Wi-Fi is free, at least if you’re outside. Plus, no pesky ads!
Google launched free Wi-Fi in their home town Wednesday, August 16. Advertised service is 1 mbps and Wired’s tests show that although not quite achieving that speed, it’s a decent connection with download and upload speeds in the 900 kbps range.
Inside connectivity will likely need a Wi-Fi modem (Google’s terminology). This is one of those booster devices similar to the Ruckus that I was testing for US Internet. The one exception is the Mountain View Public Library, where they’ve installed indoor access points.
There are 380 antennas to cover an 11.5 square-mile area. Mountain View has a population of 72,000.
By default, the signal is not encrypted. However, they suggest using VPN software (Virtual Private Network) and offer a free client for download. (Of course, it’s only available for Windows but they are working on a Mac client.)
Google is not tracking user browsing when not on a Google site. Are they tracking Google searching? Looks that way from the support docs.
They are tracking your access node so they can provide “information relevant to that location.”
There is no advertising outside of what you’d normally see in Googleland.
You have to login using a Google account.
Web surfers using the Google service will have to log on, but once they’re connected they will be able to sign off without losing access….
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Google offering free Wi-Fi in its home town