Short of McDonald’s, there’s not a chain more ubiquitous in the US than Starbucks. The free WiFi the store decided to roll out has certainly helped; if you need to get online, you can usually count on a Starbucks. And Google has decided that’s a great marketing opportunity.
Posting in its blog, Google has revealed plans to make your Starbucks WiFi faster. And if you live in a Google Fiber city, it’ll be a lot faster.
…we’re teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.
So, why is Google doing this, beyond the fact that they’re Google and they’ll do any damn thing they feel like since they can afford it? We’re assuming that Starbucks is a Trojan horse to get more communities onboard with Google Fiber.
Think about it: A lot of people use Starbucks for an Internet pit-stop. They grab a coffee, they sit down, and they fire up the Internet. Over time, they’re going to notice that their Internet connection at Starbucks doesn’t suck, while the one they actually pay for in cash instead of buying coffee to pay the toll is probably terrible.
As Google Fiber expands, it’s going to start facing serious resistance from cable companies, who aren’t above trying to use legislative obstacles and straight-up dirty tricks to keep their comfy oligopoly up and running. It could use a PR scheme that lets them show off their speed.
Hence, Starbucks. True, not all 11,000 stores will be wired, but one suspects that enough of them will be to make sure everyone wants their Internet from Google.