Google’s new Smart Cities venture Sidewalk Labs has announced the purchase of Intersection, the new company behind the LinkNYC project. Google wants to speed up the developing of free internet access to New York residents and visitors, as a way to gather more information about their activities. Users of the pylons will provide the company invaluable data about their habits, places they visit, and browsing activity. It will be the largest and fastest free municipal WiFi system in the world.
LinkNYC was set up last year to develop and deploy 10,000 new communication hubs in the Big Apple, providing the public with free WiFi and access to information, communications and municipal services — a sort of 21st century payphone. The “pylons” will offer free nationwide phone calls, a touchscreen display interface to access city services, directions, free charging station for mobile devices, and 24/7 free Internet access up to gigabit speeds.
After completion of the New York City initiative, LinkNYC plans to start rolling out similar initiatives in other US cities, but details have not been made public yet.
Details may be found at http://www.citiesofthefuture.eu/sidewalk-labs-takes-over-nyc-free-wifi.