Print 6 comment(s) - last by lagomorpha.. on Jul 30 at 10:20 AM

The city still needs to approve the plan

Google is offering to put free Wi-Fi hotspots around San Francisco in an effort to increase use of its services around the Web, like search and Gmail.

Google said it would spend as much as $600,000 to place free wireless Internet hotspots in 31 public areas around San Francisco. Some of these areas would be Mission Dolores Park, Alamo Square, Washington Square in North Beach, Tenderloin Recreation Center and Portsmouth Square in Chinatown.

City officials haven’t yet approved the generous offer. They first want to review annual maintenance costs before moving ahead with the project. 

According to San Francisco parks director Phil Ginsburg, the city would have to pay the annual maintenance fees for the Wi-Fi hotspots. Although, he did say that Google's $600,000 gift have two years' worth of these maintenance costs included -- which totals $50,000.

Google wouldn't own or manage the Wi-Fi hotspots. Instead, Ron Conway, one of Mayor Ed Lee's political allies, would run the project through his non-profit SF.Citi.

The deal could benefit both sides. San Francisco has many professionals and residents that could use the free Internet for both work and the community, and Google benefits from increased traffic to its various Web services like Google search, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. Many of the services feature ads, which is a real moneymaker for the tech giant. 

In fact, NBC News reported that most of the company's $50 billion in revenue for 2012 was due to ads from Internet traffic. 

San Francisco wouldn't be the first city to receive such an offer from Google. The Android maker has already put money into free Wi-Fi in Mountain View, Calif.; Boston's South Station, and New York's Chelsea neighborhood

If SF city officials approve, equipment installation would begin in December and could be finished by mid-2014. 

Google has been busy making sure that it's on top of its game lately with a slew of new releases just this week alone. unveiled the new Nexus 7 tablet, which features a a quad-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 1920x1200 pixel resolution, a 7-inch 1080p HD screen, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, dual stereo speakers, and prices of $229 for 16GB and $269 for 32GB. 

Additionally, Google introduced Android version 4.3 Jelly Bean -- which will power the new Nexus 7 tablet -- and Chromecast, which is a $35 media streaming stick that allows users to play certain video apps (like Netflix) from their tablet, smartphone or Chrome browser to their TV wirelessly. 

Source: NBC News

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Just to be paranoid...
By Motoman on 7/25/2013 11:31:43 AM , Rating: 2 Google getting anything else out of this?

Like, is there any chance they could be getting a little more user data this way?

For example, if you start traveling around with your laptop/tablet/wifi phone/whatever, Google can start to know what hotspots you're connecting to. They can enhance a profile of you with the places you like to go. They could do that via cookies in your browser, or potentially with your Gmail account you log in with (or other Google services), or maybe even just record your MAC address.

Obviously, the more Google knows about you, the better they can tailor ads and such to throw at you. So if they know what places you tend to go to, they can make more money off of better advertising directed at you.

Also, if/when the CIA/FBI/NSA/NAMBLA/whatever comes at Google with a demand for information about a given person, they now have more data to turn over the that agency. Maybe you don't mind Google knowing where you go on a regular maybe you don't want government spook agencies to get at that data.

Anyway, time for me to go out and look for chemtrails and black helicopters.


By inperfectdarkness on 7/25/2013 12:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's a lot like Minority Report, isn't it?

RE: Just to be paranoid...
By ShaolinSoccer on 7/25/2013 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
This is Google we're talking about. OF COURSE they are data mining everyone on their free Wifi.

RE: Just to be paranoid...
By aurareturn on 7/25/2013 9:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
Of course they will get something out of it.

It's a great form of advertisement. You'll always see "Google" in your wifi signal just to remind you that you should use Google.

And I'm sure they'll set the starting page to when you first log in.

RE: Just to be paranoid...
By ipay on 7/26/2013 9:08:04 AM , Rating: 2
Oh come on, this is just embarrassing.

"a 1920x1200 pixel resolution, a 7-inch 1080p HD screen"

RE: Just to be paranoid...
By lagomorpha on 7/30/2013 10:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
Like, is there any chance they could be getting a little more user data this way?

More user data? They already know the location you connect from (unless you use a VPN), and their ads track you all over the internet. They probably aren't going to get much more information out of this, they ALREADY HAVE ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION.

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