The much awaited and anticipated Google WiFi network is finally switched on and fully operational. Any one with a Google login can access the network. New users can signup for one. Currently users get 1Mbps connections speed, but I think it will be ramped up pretty soon.
Chris Sacca, Head of Special Initiatives at Google says that at present the company is offering a one-megabit per second connection for everyone, and will tweak the capacity depending on how people use the network. For instance if a lot of people are watching online videos, then the capacity might get a booster shot. - [GigaOM]
GigaOM has some technical details of the WiFi network that covers around 11.5 square miles:
The network, which covers 11.5 square miles, features 380 access points, all supplied by Tropos Networks, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company. One in six access points is a gateway by Tel Aviv-based Alvarion. There are three bandwidth aggregation points in the network that are connected to GooglePlex using point-to-point gear from GigaBeam, an equipment vendor based in Herndon, Virginia. The network was designed by Google engineers and installed by WFI, a San Diego-based network builder.
I thought Google WiFi will be launched widely across the country and this is a trial launch, but it looks like Google has no such plans. It is not even participating in the SmartValley project, which will provide wireless across a major swath of Silicon Valley Bay Area.
Google just wanted its network to be used as a trial pad for WiFi network itself and new WiFi products. On that front, Google might launch some Location based services like Google Coupons. Google can pinpoint your location on the network based on your current access point. So when you are around a restaurent, and using Google search, you might get an exclusive coupon from a near by restaurent for a nice dinner.
Niall Kenney tried to connect the dots on Location based services on Google Wifi.
Google also announced its first killer app for location-based connectivity: merchant coupons. Businesses can create and offer coupons through Google's Local Business Center, prompting user action when viewing a Google Map or local listings. Businesses verify their information through an automated phone call for future click-to-call opportunities or a walk-in prompted by local listings.
Combine the two announcements and you get something really cool. Local merchants getting online and interacting with the local community through accurate information and perhaps a few freebies and discounts.