Google just raised its profile as an ISP in a big way among espresso-swilling hipsters as the company announced on Wednesday that it has become the official Wi-Fi provider for all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks franchises in the United States. The new Google-enabled Wi-Fi will replace AT&T’s Wi-Fi offerings in Starbucks locations over the next 18 months, and Google is pledging that Starbucks customers will “be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before.” And there’s even better news for Starbucks customers in Kansas City and Austin, Tex. — Google says that Google Fiber-connected Wi-Fi hotspots will be up to 100 times faster than old Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspots.
In a blog post that announced PayPal now has 100 million active accounts, PayPal president Scott Thompson also discussed the future of the mobile payment space. “We believe that by 2015 digital currency will be accepted everywhere in the U.S. – from your local corner store to Walmart,” Thompson said. “We will no longer need to carry a wallet.” As part of that goal, the company has asked five residents in the San Francisco Bay area to use digital currency for all of their purchases and, presumably, PayPal will pick up the tab. While we love Thompson’s optimism, that sounds like a tough task. Google recently announced its Google Wallet application, which will allow customers to use a Nexus S smartphone to purchase goods at a number of retailers, but you’d still be hard pressed to find anywhere that accepts it as payment for the time being. We suppose they could use a PayPal debit card — but that would still require a wallet. Oh well, there’s always Starbucks. More →
Are you Android users jealous of all of your friends using their iPhones to buy frappuccinos? Take a sigh of relief — on Wednesday Starbucks launched its Android application that will allow you to walk into one of 6,800 Starbucks or 1,000 Target locations and buy your choice of coffee without having to reach for your wallet. When you’ve made your selection, all you have to do is hold your phone up so that the barista can scan a special barcode presented on your phone’s screen. The best part? You can refill your Starbucks card directly from the app itself. It’s available for free in the Android Market now for devices running Android 2.1 or newer. More →
Love strutting your stuff to that sassy barista at your favorite Starbucks? Starting today, you’ll be able to swipe your iPhone, iPod touch, or BlackBerry at almost all Starbucks locations to pay for your coffee (or delicious reduced-fat Cinnamon cake). The program had been piloted in California and many New York stores and allows you to use the Starbucks Mobile Card iPhone app to add your Starbucks Cards, track rewards, and also reload your cards from your phone. How easy is it to use to pay that Trenta Caramel Frappuccino? Just tap “touch to pay” in the app, hold it up to the scanner at the register and you’re off and running. Or slowly reconsidering ordering a 31oz blended coffee and beverage. Going to give it a go? Let us know, alright? More →
Thanks to a partnership with Bell, Starbucks Canada has announced that it will be joining its American brethren in offering free Wi-Fi to all customers come July 1st. A one-click login system means that passwords and users names are not required. Anyone planning to waste away Canada Day holed up in a Starbucks with an iPad and Frappuccino in hand?
P.S. Are we the only ones that find it odd that Starbucks would take the time to mention that its free Wi-Fi is perfect for people who are unemployed? More →
According to their latest tweet, Starbucks will be opening up their Wi-Fi to everyone. No registration and it’s 100% free. Not bad, Seattle, not bad.
We’re very excited to announce that coming July 1st: Free. 1 click. No registration WIFI at all US locations!
The news just keeps on coming today for Windows Mobile enthusiasts. This morning, Microsoft announced that “Windows Phones” — aka handsets powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.5 OS — would begin to reach market on October 6th. Now, AT&T has jumped in to reveal plans to add Windows Mobile-powered handsets to its free Wi-Fi pool. That’s right folks, starting Friday September 14th, AT&T’s WinMo smartphones will gain free access to each and every AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. BlackBerrys and iPhones have enjoyed free AT&T Wi-Fi for quite a while now, so it’s nice to finally see Windows Mobile join the fun. There are two requirements of course, the first being an unlimited data plan or other qualifying data option. Secondly, your WinMo handset must, in fact, have Wi-Fi capabilities in order for you to enjoy free Wi-Fi. Right on.
It remains to be seen whether or not AT&T’s recently re-re-re-announced free WiFi for iPhone users offer will actually stick this time. AT&T is basically the boy who cried wolf at this point thanks to a handful of misfires. It looks like we may have to give them the benefit of the doubt this time around however, as AT&T ninjas are now reporting that another handset looks like it will be the recipient of some free WiFi love at AT&T hotspots around the country. That handset – the BlackBerry Bold. Word just came in that launch documentation being delivered to AT&T store managers indeed references the same free WiFi offer for the Bold that has just today been revived for the iPhone. We would imagine this offer will continue to pop up for a variety of 3G handsets moving forward. Why? As generous as it seems on the surface, AT&T may indeed have a few ulterior motives behind handing out free WiFi like it’s going out of style. Reports of network issues have been flowing steadily in recent history and may even be the cause behind certain delayed service releases. Giving customers an incentive to make use of its free WiFi offer is likely an effort to lessen the strain on AT&T’s 3G networks which have sometimes been slowed to GPRS-like speeds in certain areas. It remains to be seen whether or not this new offer will help the matter but in the mean time, let’s hope customers do indeed get some free WiFi with that Bold purchase.
UPDATE: It looks like AT&T’s free WiFi now applies to all smartphones, as was the plan a while back. Will it stick? Who knows… Let us know if the free WiFi deal is working for your non-iPhone.
It’s here, it’s gone, it’s here, it’s gone, it’s here. It took a fair number of misfires and tweaks but AT&T and Starbucks have finally launched the free WiFi service we’ve been waiting for, well, for a long time. The catch? There are actually several. Truth be told, this free WiFi deal isn’t free at all. The two biggies:
- Only available to paying customers: In order to access free WiFi, you’ll need to purchase and use a Starbucks card. Also, free WiFi access is only available to those who have used their Starbucks cards in the past 30 days.
- Only available in 2-hour clips: Customers can only use WiFi for two consecutive hours each day. Want more? Get a paid AT&T plan.
So in its final released version, complimentary AT&T WiFi access is not being billed as “free”. Starbucks is calling it “a way to thank our loyal customers”. AT&T Laptop Connect customers with an applicable plan still have their own deal for free WiFi and we should be seeing something similar launch for smartphones this year as well. In the meantime you’ll need to keep sucking down that liquid crack to play without paying.
[Via Gear Diary]