July 31, 2013
Starbucks Goes Google
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google announced today that they'll be providing Starbucks patrons with Wi-Fi connectivity at speeds ten times faster than the existing AT&T network. In cities where Google operates their Google Fiber Gigabit connection, the company hopes to increase their speed by 100-fold.
Over the next 18 months Google will begin rolling out their network to all 7,000 Starbucks stores in the US. The first stores will begin offering the new network as early as next month, though Google has already taken control of some Wi-Fi networks near their Mountain View headquarters.
Coffee lovers will know they're connected to the new network when they see the "Google Starbucks" Wi-Fi name in their list of available networks. Starbucks also announced this week that they'll be expanding their mobile charging initiative to include stores in the Silicon Valley area on the West Coast. Currently stores in the Boston area are outfitted with Powermat chargers to wirelessly charge customer smartphones.
"Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available," writes Google in their official blog post introducing the new partnership.
"The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks."
According to Mashable, Starbucks stores are currently setup with T1 lines capable of 1.5 megabit speeds. Google will now work with Level 3 Communications to bring an assortment of solutions to Starbucks stores to deliver on their claims of faster connection speeds. Some of these options include DSL, cable modems and additional T1 lines.
"When you start getting to really, really fast speeds, it's difficult to put it in the same way everywhere," said Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman in an interview with Cnet.
"Instead of finding one common denominator, we're saying, no, let's upgrade everything. (In) some cases, it will be faster than 10-times, sometimes slower."
AT&T says they also offered to up their speed by ten times, but despite their decision to go with Google, Starbucks remains one of their "important partners."
"We continue to provide them with a variety of services over AT&T's advanced network, including the nation's fastest, most reliable LTE network," reads an AT&T statement.
Though he refused to go into specifics, Brotman also told Cnet that Google will be working with the coffee chain to improve their Starbucks Digital Network, the page customers first see when they connect to the Wi-Fi network. This page includes free apps and song downloads of the day as well as stories and articles from news sources like the Wall Street Journal.
On Monday Starbucks announced that they would be expanding their mobile wireless charging program from several test stores on the East Coast to more than ten stores near the San Jose area. This campaign stems from a partnership with Duracell and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), a group which also counts AT&T and Google as members.