So, it seems Google’s foray into Wi-Fi provisioning leaps from ‘experiments’ in two US cities to helium-filled balloons over New Zealand and now to the sacrosanct coffee temples of Starbucks, all 7,000 of them in the USA.
Are alarm bills ringing yet amongst network operators? They sure are at AT&T, which announced almost immediately after the Google news came out that it would discontinue its Wi-Fi service through Starbucks after an 18-month transition period.
In a blog on Google’s site came the bold announcement that when your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster. Hopefully, you won’t be expected to drink your coffee 10 or even 100 times faster!
It won’t be long before cities blessed with Google’s presence will be renamed with the ‘Google Fiber’ prefix, e.g. ‘Google Fiber City formerly known as St Louis.’ You also can’t help but be impressed by the blurb associated with the announcement: “Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available.” Gee, that’s what I thought the existing network providers were doing.
“The free internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.”
Yup, good luck finding a seat at any Starbucks in future as thousands of students camp there to do their homework. Perish the thought that some might even slip in some Facebook or YouTube time as well. Starbucks takings will surely skyrocket as these poor kids consume ever-increasing amounts of coffee so they can stay awake longer and take advantage of Google’s generosity.
Don’t forget, as the blog says, you’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID. I, for one, just can’t wait to try it out.