Mountain View Is Installing Wi-Fi Because Google's Free Service Stinks

The frustrated residents of Mountain View are fed up with the poor performance of the free Wi-Fi network that Google set up a few years ago that they're spending taxpayer dollars to build their own. New routers will soon go up at City Hall and the library, where service has been particularly bad.

It's tough to look a gift horse in the mouth and that whole cliché, but this sort of stinks for the people of Mountain View. When Google launched the free Wi-Fi back in 2006, they did it with much fanfare and self congratulation. But these sorts of goodwill (read: marketing) efforts don't amount to much if Google doesn't stick to the commitment. Mountain View residents say that the network's performance was fine for a while but rapidly got worse last year. Now, Google says that it's "actively in discussions with the Mountain View city staff to review several options for the future of the network."

While this little dustup in Mountain View will resolve itself shortly, it really makes you wonder about the future of similar Google efforts around the world. Will the search giant keep enjoying the sunny headlines about installing gigabit internet in a handful of cities and then fail to maintain it? And what about that far-fetched plan to blast Wi-Fi from balloons hovering above the third world? Is that just for looks, too? We can't judge Google's intentions or predict the future, but the company's letting down their neighbors in Mountain View isn't a good sign. [ITWorld]