Google plans own WiFi service

Google is preparing to launch its own wireless Internet service - Google WiFi - according to several pages found on the company's Web-pages.

| Updated on: Sep 20 2005, 20:25 IST

Online search leader Google is preparing to launch its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company's Web site on Tuesday. A WiFi service, which offers a high-speed connection to the Internet, would take Google even further from its Internet search roots and move it into the fiercely competitive world of Internet access providers and telecommunications companies.

The Google Web site has several references to Google WiFi but provides few details. One Web-page refers to a product called 'Google Secure Access', which is designed to 'establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi.' A separate Web-page offers a free download of Google Secure Access, carrying the headline: 'Your wireless connection is almost ready to use.'

Google declined to comment further. Speculation about a forthcoming Google WiFi service has been rife since August following an article in Business 2.0 magazine, but the company has refused to discussed its plans. Analysts have voiced concerns that Google could extend itself too far beyond its core business, while acknowledging its vast financial and engineering resources could produce results.

'Becoming a service provider would be quite a stretch for Google, but considering the billions of dollars Google could throw at the problem it could become a reality,' Ovum analyst Roger Entner wrote in the wake of the Business 2.0 article. 'Depending on how Google can adapt to these challenging areas and how committed it is to the space, it could become a home run or could break the bank.', he further added.

WiFi is an increasingly popular technology that is used to provide high-speed wireless Internet access in homes, business and public spaces like airports and coffee shops. Google launched a sponsored WiFi 'hotspot' in San Francisco's Union Square district in April with a start-up called Feeva. The FAQ says that the Google Secure Access service is in 'beta', meaning that the company does not consider it a fully finished product -- standard operating procedure for services like Gmail. Google, which is rapidly expanding beyond its core Internet search service, introduced an instant messaging and telephony service called Google Talk in August.

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First Published Date: 20 Sep, 20:25 IST