Google Offering Free WiFi in 4,000 Locations to Promote Its Play Platform

Google is covering the costs of WiFi access in exchange for viewing a Google Play Ad

Google's been offering free WiFi in various places and for various occasions. It's not slowing down either, the company announced plans to expand free WiFi coverage to more than 4,000 locations in the US, including the existing locations and the expansion announced last month.

"Wi-Fi users with Android phones and tablets, as well as Windows and Macintosh laptops, will be offered complimentary Wi-Fi at thousands of high-traffic locations in dozens of cities nationwide, courtesy of cloud-based digital entertainment destination, Google Play," Boingo, the company offering the WiFi service announced.

"Sponsored Wi-Fi locations include 15 airports, such as New York's John F. Kennedy, Chicago O'Hare and Seattle-Tacoma, Boingo-enabled Manhattan subway stations, and thousands of hotels, shopping malls, cafés and recreational areas," it said.

The promotion will have users visiting a Google Play splash-screen first. Google already experimented with ad-supported free WiFi, but used its local Google Offers service in the first campaign. Now it's advertising its entertainment platform, Google Play.

It's interesting, but perhaps understandable, that Google is only targeting users with Android devices, who can take advantage of Google Play, and laptop users, granted, with the exception of Linux fans. Ironically, Chromebooks also don't seem to be included in the promotion.

What's even more interesting is that this is an ad campaign bought by Google, but powered by Boingo's new ad network, courtesy of the recent Cloud Nine Media acquisition. Usually, Google is at the other end of the deal.

But Google is trying to bolster its entertainment platform to catch up to the leaders in the field, Apple and Amazon. Google Play is the company's take on Apple's iTunes environment and the various digital offerings Amazon runs under the Kindle and Amazon Prime umbrellas. But Google Play is a distant third at best and needs all the help it can get.

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