Google is readying a plan to provide heavily subsidized, commercial grade Wi-Fi routers and equipment to businesses, according to The Information. The idea is to give companies like doctor’s offices and restaurants easy internet access while letting Google mine the data for targeted ads. Insiders say that would also allow such businesses to set up a website and even learn about customers buying habits. That lines up nicely with other rumors about Mountain View’s WiFi plans in Google Fiber cities and public spaces like Starbucks.
Google Inc plans to offer Wi-Fi network hardware and software at a discount to small and medium-sized businesses, tech blog The Information reported on Wednesday, citing a confidential document it accessed and a person who was briefed on the project. Google would provide commercial-grade Wi-Fi access equipment at a steep discount and Web-based software for businesses to manage the Wi-Fi network from anywhere, the blog report said, but it did not provide specific pricing details. Google may require Wi-Fi users to “sign in” to their Google account, allowing the company to gather more information about them and target advertising to them. Google also plans to share some data with the business owners to help them learn about their customer habits, although it was not clear what the Internet giant might be willing to share, the blog said. The offering, which is aimed at millions of businesses such as restaurants, doctors’ offices and gyms, could be unveiled as soon as this summer, it said.