Google Gives Free Wi-Fi For Holidays - InformationWeek

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Google Gives Free Wi-Fi For Holidays

Travelers on AirTran, Delta and Virgin America flights can go online free from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2.

Google said Monday it has partnered with three airlines to give holiday travelers free in-flight Wi-Fi.

The temporary giveaway of Gogo's broadband service applies to all domestic flights with AirTran, Delta and Virgin America. The promotion starts Nov. 20 and ends Jan. 2, 2011. Gogo, a service of in-flight broadband provider Aircell, normally costs $11 for 24-hour access.

Google's Chrome browser team is sponsoring the giveaway, but a person will not need Chrome to access the service. That makes sense, given that Chrome is a distant third behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox in the browser market, accounting for less than 8% of the browsers used to access the Web, according to Net Applications.

The promotion is expected to bring free Wi-Fi to more than 700 airliners and 15 million travelers during the holiday season. This is the second straight year Google has brought free Wi-Fi to holiday travelers. Last year, Google partnered with Virgin America to offer Internet access at no charge to more than 50 aiports, as well as to in-flight passengers.

The promotion last year ran from Nov. 10 to Jan. 15, 2010, all paid for by Google. The in-flight service was provided by Gogo, while the airport service was through Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others. Users were given the option to donate to Engineers Without Borders, which was matched by Google. This year, Google decided to focus on the in-flight service and drop the airport service.

Google has worked with Virgin America for a while. The two drew closer last month, when the airline announced it would shift from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail to cut e-mail costs in half over the course of a year. Virgin America expected all 1,700 of its employees to be using Gmail before mid-November.

SEE ALSO:

Google, Virgin America Offer Free In-Flight Wi-Fi

Google Offering Free Airport Wi-Fi For Holidays

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