Google has decided to cough out $600,000 (which so happens to be a drop in the bucket for the search giant, but it is still a sizeable amount of money) to 31 San Francisco playgrounds, plazas, recreation centers, and parks, so that these places would be on the receiving end of two years of free Wi-Fi connectivity. The $600,000 gift from Google will not beholden the city to any laws or requirements, this is purely a no strings attached gift. Mayor Ed Lee announced that pending approvals, installations could kick off from this November onwards, where everything should be completed by April 2014 if all goes well.
The whole idea behind introducing free Wi-Fi connectivity to these places is to empower citizens as well as community groups, while doubling up as a pilot for city-wide free Wi-Fi. This is clearly an advancement compared to what happened half a dozen years ago, when the city of San Francisco, EarthLink, and Google talked about setting up a Wi-Fi network for San Francisco, but no contract could be agreed upon. The $600,000 lump sum would end up to pay for the equipment, installation, and maintenance of the wireless network over the duration of two years, where the city of San Francisco will take over from there after that.