Google is apparently planning to offers subsidized, commercial-grade Wi-Fi hardware to small and medium-sized businesses, The Information reports, alongside software to help greatly improve the quality of the Wi-Fi experience at places like doctors’ offices, restaurants, gyms and more. The hardware would be the only cost involved, as it would use the businesses’ existing Internet connections, unlike the Google-provided Wi-Fi networks running at Starbucks businesses across the U.S.
The plan is to get better Wi-Fi in the hands of these businesses in order to get more users working on Google apps and services, which ultimately means more customers spending more time engaging with Google’s money-making products, even when they’re away from their usual home and work Wi-Fi networks. This is the same team behind Google Fiber, the search giant’s high-speed net and TV service, which is being trialled in select markets across the U.S., The Information reports.
A key feature of said network would be that it could remember a user based on their Google account login, and set them up on any other Google-controlled Wi-Fi network anywhere in the world automatically. This so-called Hotspot 2.0 feature would help in terms of clearing up the onerous task of signing in to new networks every single time. And for Google, it means getting users more friction-free access to their Google accounts and services, which has obvious benefits in terms of its ad recommendation engines and products.
Google ultimately wants to blanket the world in connectivity, because that’s the best way for it to grow its user base and get its products in front of as many people as possible. The company announced its acquisition of Titan Aerospace last month, which helps with its ambitious Project Loon – bringing Internet connections to remote corners of the globe. This SMB Wi-Fi project isn’t quite as fantastic in scale, but if real, it has the same aim: make it so as many people as possible can use Google products as much as possible, as often as possible, as easily as possible.
We’ve reached out to Google for confirmation or more info, and will update if we hear back. Update: Google had no comment on this report.