Google Looks to Bring Free Wi-Fi Hotspots to San Francisco
July 25, 2013 10:25 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.
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
, 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.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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