Google rolls out free Wi-Fi in Mountain View

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Mountain View (CA) - Google today announced availability of its first Wi-Fi network. Most residents of Mountain View, Calif., can connect to the Internet via a Mesh Wi-Fi network for free. Google said that its network "eventually will cover the entire city" and serve as "testing ground for future innovations."

According to a Google spokesperson, the installation of the Wi-Fi network already had been completed and June and entered testing in July. During a few weeks of testing, the feedback from users apparently has been positive enough to convince the company to allow general access to the network today.

In contrast to similar free Wi-Fi announcements around the U.S. which are expected to offer free as well fee-based services, the Mountain View service will be completely free. Google did not release technical data such as the bandwidth of the network, but mentioned that the network supports "Google Secure Access," a downloadable client that uses an encrypted connection and Google's virtual private network instead of the standard, non-encrypted Wi-Fi connect.

The Mountain View Wi-Fi service uses Mesh technology which allows a notebook or other wireless device to connect to a network of routers installed in the city area. The signal is routed through the network back to Google, from where the Internet connection is provided. Any user close to a router can connect to the network, but will need a Google account to login - to prevent spamming, according to the company.

Google believes that the service will "ultimately benefit" end users and Google partners. "We're focused on the user experience, and we're open to any opportunities and partnerships that have the potential to significantly improve the way people access and use the Internet - both today and in the future. As such, we hope the networks we're focusing on - in Mountain View and San Francisco - will serve as a testing ground for future innovations," the firm said.

In April of this year, Google and Earthlink announced that the two companies will build a Wi-Fi network in San Francisco. Google will offer free, ad-subsidized access with a bandwidth of 300 kb/s while Earthlink will be providing a premium service with higher speeds for $20 per month.