Boingo, Google Offer Free Wi-Fi for Android Users

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Public wireless provider Boingo is offering Android tablet and smartphones users free Wi-Fi at more than 4,000 of its hotspots across America through a collaboration with Google. iOS users? Sorry, your invite is not in the mail.

BoingoThat doesn’t mean an iOS device can’t access the Boingo network. It just won’t see the ad specials, according to Katie O’Neill, a spokesperson for Boingo, and therefore won’s qualify for free access.

The hotspots will be available for all Android users, as well as those running OS X or a Windows computer in hotels, cafes, airports and other “high-traffic” areas around the country, like the New York subway stations. Boingo supports 15 airports around the nation, including New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Chicago O’Hare.

Anyone accessing the Wi-Fi hotspot will also have access to some free content from Google Play, such as apps, music, movies and e-books. That’s why iOS users are shut out: there is no iOS content on Google Play, after all. If Apple wanted to buy a similar deal with Boingo for just iOS devices, it could do just that.

Boingo uses its Wi-Fi network in turn to sell advertising through its Cloud Nine Media platform, a global advertising network that enables brand advertisers to deliver targeted advertising. Boingo claims its advertising platform now reaches 1.5 billion people annually.

So it’s not like the ad network or Wi-Fi goes dark when the deal ends, since there are multiple ad programs going on through its Wi-Fi network. There are often dozens of advertising sponsorships all going through the same locations simultaneously, said O’Neil. In this case, Boingo worked with Google to provide Google Play access and targeted advertising at Android users.

“This gives Google an opportunity to present a message on Google Play to Android users. The first page they come to is the Google Play page, where they have the opportunity to look at Google content,” she said. iOS users will just get a different ad.

The Boingo network can be tailored to locations and devices. Ads can be aimed at just Android tablets accessing the network in New York, for example, while Android phones in Seattle might see something different.

The deal runs through the end of this month.

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