Google is reportedly working on an app that can automatically authenticate with free Wi-Fi hotspots. The app, for iOS and Android, is said to be on trial at the company’s Mountain View headquarters and that the app could work with the hotspots in 7,000 US Starbucks stores when Google replaces the existing AT&T connections. Right now it looks like a limited test, but that could change soon.
Apparently the app will connect automatically, without requiring users to press any buttons or even agree to disclaimers each time they sign into a hotspot. It is also said that the app could extend to Boingo hotspot locations where Google pays for the access, and could use the existing Google account credentials to identify users instead of setting up a separate authentication system. That definitely sounds like Google.
Google has been exploring offering Wi-Fi for awhile now. In 2006, they even launched Google Wi-Fi with over 500 hotspots located at streetlights in Mountain View. Aside from that, Google seems to be working on improving the existing Google Wi-Fi service to cope with high demand and installing it in more places in the US and Canada.