It’s not often that a company does something nice for users (even if they have an ulterior motive), so on the day of the iPhone 5 announcement it is nice that Android users have at least a little something to celebrate about. Google just announced that they will be sponsoring over 4,000 Boingo WiFi hotspots in public places, which will only be accessible through Google Play devices.
More specifically, this means that only devices that can access Google Play will be able to use the WiFi, which does include Windows and OSX laptops as well as Android devices. However, devices like the iPhone and Windows phones are left out in the cold, as Google doesn’t seem to want just anyone using the internet, even if it means they would be searching on Google.
I can’t say I’m a fan of the fact that some devices are banned from these hotspots, but it does make sense considering that the program is technically sponsored by Google Play. The point is to allow users to access Google Play content more places and publicize the service, and allowing non-Google Play devices on the network does neither of those things. Still, it will be nice for those of us that can access the WiFi connections, and is a good way for Google to build a bit more goodwill with customers.
However, there’s always the question of how much information Google is collecting about you through these networks, so the offer is probably not coming just from the goodness of their heart.[BGR]