Read original story on: WSJ Online
New York public libraries will soon start lending WiFi hotspots to people who need it most; namely, the low-income residents who don’t have broadband and are enrolled in library programs. Around ten thousand Sprint WiFi hotspots will be funded partly by a $1 million donation from Google.
This expansion of free NYC Wifi hotspot program marks yet another effort in the city’s initiative to bring Internet access to all New Yorkers. Earlier this year, the city announced a linkNYC plan that will start converting outdated payphone booth into Wifi hotspots.
Over 7,300 payphones in New York City may be transformed into something much more relevant in this mobile age, as Google proposes to convert them into free Wi-Fi hotspots. If completed, this project would basically blanket the whole city with Google-owned Wi-Fi networks, which in turn would benefit the Internet giant greatly with user location tracking and other valuable marketable data. Similar to Facebook’s lofty plan to bring free Internet access to the whole world, Google is looking to move closer towards the inevitable future of big data and ubiquitous computing.
Some NYC subway stations are about to receive a functional boost in the form of interactive subway maps designed by Antenna Design, the firm also responsible for the ubiquitous MetroCard vending machines. The tall (6 foot, 4 inch) screens will also serve up advertising administered by CBS Outdoor and Control Group, providing an opportunity for savvy advertisers to serve interactive ad experiences to a captive audience during the (hopefully) short wait on the platform. The primary purpose of the screens is to provide information to travelers, so ads may be suspended with a simple tap. The program is expected to remain in beta through 2015 at 16 of the busiest stations in MTA’s system.
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