Google wants to make Wi-Fi more prevalent as an access technology.
Google Station, a suite of tools designed to make creating and maintaining public Wi-Fi easy, is being offered to partners including Internet service providers, large venues (cafes and shopping malls) and network infrastructure companies.
“If you’re a large venue or organization, network operator, fiber provider, system integrator or infrastructure company, we want to work with you to bring fast Wi-Fi to more locations,” says the Google Station website.
As part of the suite of tools, Google will handle login info for the different hotspots, with users having a single username and password.
Google also will help Wi-Fi hosts to monetize their connections, perhaps by handling payments for “for fee” access.
Caesar Sengupta, VP of Google’s Next Billion Plan said the company is opening the platform to anyone and everyone who has a good internet connection.
The platform seems an outgrowth of work with Indian Railways to provide free Wi-Fi services at railway stations in India.
It is harder than ever these days to determine, in any precise setting, whether Wi-Fi is a network access technology (connection to the public Internet) or an in-building local area network (where a user creates a private network to re-distribute a public connection resource to local assets and users).
Use of Wi-Fi hotspots and homespots to directly connect mobile and other devices provides one example of Wi-Fi used as an “access” technology.