Google wants make its online services more accessible to the public by introducing a new plan to get small businesses better connected, according to reports.
The search giant is reportedly planning to provide small and medium-sized businesses with heavily discounted Wi-Fi network software and hardware such as routers, dramatically improving the in-store service they offer to customers, according to a confidential company document seen by The Information.
The plan, which would initially begin in the US, is aimed at businesses such as restaurants, doctors' offices and gyms, where casual internet usage is common, but could also possibly supply public institutions like libraries, which often provide free online access.
Under the plan, Google would provide commercial-grade Wi-Fi access equipment at a steep discount, as well as supplying Web-based software which would allow businesses to manage their network and customers using it.
Google would also look to take the hassle out of signing into different Wi-Fi hotspots using different logins by automatically authenticating users with their Google account username and password every time they're within range of one of the hotspots.
This will also allow the company to gather more information about users and better target advertising to them. Google also plans to share some data with the business owners to help them learn about their customer habits, although it was not clear what specifics it could be willing to share.
No specific pricing details of the scheme were revealed, but it could begin rolling out as soon as this summer, with details possibly be revealed at Google I/O in June.