Even though it’s been overshadowed by the allure of Google Fiber, Google’s efforts in installing standard Wi-Fi networks have continued apace. The company has launched a new project, called Sidewalk Labs, that will focus primarily on building public and private citywide Wi-Fi partnerships, often acquiring companies along the way to aid in its efforts. For example, Sidewalk recently absorbed two firms that are involved in providing gigabit Wi-Fi to every citizen of New York City.
Dan Doctoroff, head of Sidewalk Labs, is very bullish about his venture’s prospects. “The vision really is to make cities connected places where you can walk down any street and have access to free ultra high speed Wi-Fi. The possibilities from there are just endless.” As per usual with Google, however, Sidewalk isn’t providing free Internet connectivity because of some innate altruistic impulse: the more people they can connect, the more advertising dollars flow into Google’s coffers.