Boingo just announced that Google Play is now sponsoring free Wi-Fi at 4,000 hotspots, including a number of major airports, including New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare and Sea-Tac in Seattle, as well as in Manhattan subway stations and “thousands of hotels, shopping malls, cafés and recreational areas.” This free service is scheduled to last through September, but it’s worth noting that Google and Boingo have said that only Android phones and tablets and Windows and Macintosh laptops will be able to make use of this service.
These Wi-Fi hotspots are part of Boingo’s Cloud Nine Media platform, which offers advertisers the ability to “reach a captive audience through Wi-Fi sponsorships.” Boingo acquired Cloud Nine Media, which was founded by an ex-Google employee, in August. Google already worked with Cloud Nine Media for similar offerings in the past, including the company’s Google Offers-sponsored free Wi-Fi offer in New York City earlier this year.
“Google Play is the first to take part in our newly expanded Wi-Fi sponsorship network, which reaches millions of consumers each month with place-based brand engagements,” said Dawn Callahan, vice president of consumer marketing for Boingo Wireless in a canned statement today. “Sponsorships like this give users the free Wi-Fi they crave, advertisers the consumer interaction they need, and venues the revenue to offset the costs associated with providing a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi experience.”
Boingo notes that this deal will also bring free content to users. The company did not release any details about this part of the program, however, but we’ve asked Google and Boingo for clarification and will update this post once we hear more.