facebook rss twitter

Google's free Wi-Fi tried and tested

by Sylvie Barak on 16 September 2009, 18:31

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaty7

Add to My Vault: x

The Goog, the bad and the ugly

As a brand-spanking-new resident of the USA, and Mountain View, California in particular, the prospect of having Google right on my doorstep both intrigued and daunted me; especially as an IT journalist.

Discovering, however, that the firm supplied free Wi-Fi to all Mountain View residents, any concerns I may have had about living across the street from the Internet's very own Big Brother magically melted away into excitement. The promise of free Wi-Fi lifted my spirits tremendously. Until I tried using it, that is.

To say my first experience with Google Wi-Fi was as slow as molasses would be doing it almost too much justice. For the first 20 minutes I struggled in vain to make it connect - to something, to anything. Hopping around on one leg, holding my laptop aloft, with fingers crossed, I tried desperately to access the free Wi-Fi network, which only requires a free Gmail login.

Then, it happened. After many anxious moments watching the blank screen, a blessed sight appeared; I had been successfully logged into iGoogle. Still, my relief was short-lived because every subsequent page-view took, on average, about a minute to load, and more often than not, it timed out. Growing pains, one might say, but the truth is, the network has been available for a long time.

Back in August of this year, Google celebrated the third year of its free wireless Internet service in Mountain View, calling it part of our ongoing efforts to reach out to our hometown.

However, it was also an experiment to deliver free Internet access to people who had none, in order to get them to see Google's ads, as well as allowing the firm to test Wi-Fi advertisement delivery for future citywide Wi-Fi partnerships. The Internet giant has a five-year contract with the city of Mountain View to provide the free service, after which they're also free to shut it down if they so choose.


Not the best sign