Last month, we heard a story that Google might be expanding its interests in mobile technology beyond devices, apps, and online services, and start offering connectivity, as well. The details were a bit unclear, with talk of Google acting like something of a cellular MVNO, or maybe doing like Republic Wireless and redirecting most data to local WiFi APs instead of sending it over actual cellular networks. Today we learn about a new rumor that may be distinct from that previous report, but still touches on some of the same goals, with word that Google could be planning a big investment in public WiFi.
Supposedly, Google would sell quite high-end WiFi hardware to small and medium-sized businesses at deep discounts, with the understanding that these companies would then deploy this gear in order to offer free WiFi to the public. The businesses could attract customers with the promise of high quality internet access, and Google would benefit from those same users taking advantage of its own online services.
Maybe the most interesting part of this tale is how unrestricted it might be: in addition to private businesses, there’s the chance that this free Google WiFi might also come to public spaces (assuming Google can work out arrangements with local governments), and while we all-too-often learn of Google’s plans being constrained to the US, there’s already talk of this WiFi endeavor possibly spreading abroad.