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Summary:

Live from Mountain View – This morning I got an email invitation welcoming me to try out Google’s Mountain View WiFi network as one of the trusted testers. I’m not sure if it was a random invite or not, after writing a bit about Google’s Mountain […]

Live from Mountain View – This morning I got an email invitation welcoming me to try out Google’s Mountain View WiFi network as one of the trusted testers. I’m not sure if it was a random invite or not, after writing a bit about Google’s Mountain View plans, but I felt like a lucky golden ticket winner with a trip to the chocolate factory–OK, so I have no life!

So I’m posting this from Rengstorff Park in Mountain View and the connection is pretty good: between 2 and 3 bars out of 4 on my Mac. Works well enough from here. I might drive around a bit and follow the nifty map that Google set up and update this post later. I won’t divulge how to get onto the network, but trust me it’s a no-brainer, even though right now trusted testers can’t see the SSID number.

The connection isn’t secure at the moment because I haven’t downloaded Google’s VPN client, like the email suggests I do so soon. The email says “Simply visit http://wifi.google.com/download.html to download Google Secure Access and use it with Google WiFi. Note that you will only be able to download the Google Secure Access VPN client when associated with the Google WiFi network–the download page will not work from any other Internet connection.” But that link doesn’t seem to be working for now.

The trusted tester email also addresses indoor coverage of the network: “The best way to pull Google WiFi indoors is to get a high power WiFi Modem. These modems work best when placed by a window facing the closest Google WiFi radio and typically have an Ethernet interface where you can connect a home wired/wireless router just as you would connect to a DSL or Cable Modem.”

“The best publicly-available WiFi Modem for our network we have seen so far is the PePLink Surf 200BG. This unit has one of the highest power levels, helping it stay connected to the network. There are several other (cheaper) modems which may work fine in your situation, though power is very important. There are a couple local vendors who have PePLink WiFi modems in stock and can help to answer your questions.”

Well, looks like the network is running well enough for now, but Google’s keeping the trusted tester population small to work out all the bugs. Mountain View residents, you’re almost there!

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  1. WiFi supporter Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Google VPN client? Which means Google can track which sites users are visiting? Sure, they want to serve users (Ad $$? no:-)) First, Google Desktop & now Google WiFi – no thanks! Also, thanks Mt. View, please make sure Google WiFi stays only in your town :-)

  2. Randhir Reddy Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    This should be a step towards the ‘Wireless Broadband Nirvana’, this move by Google will help accelarate others plans to Wi-Fi most places faster.

  3. I live in Mountain View and live right across from the San Antonio Caltrain station. I got the masked SSID – yes, very obvious. I get about 60% strength from my ThinkPad when I went under the base station.

    Google VPN client? Which means Google can track which sites >users are visiting? Sure, they want to serve
    users (Ad $$? no:-))

    Well, according to the product manager, that is not the plan…

    “Trusted Tester” as well,
    John

  4. So… how fast is it?

  5. Come on OM, some more details! :)
    What down (and up) speeds do you get, where does the traffic go to, is there a login page with banners? Are you forced to see ads at certain other times? (and how would they enforce that?). Some Wifi providers block everything by pointing their DNS at their own page until you log in, does this work the same?
    Nice to see it working, but we want to know MORE! :)
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Tell Google to Buy Mobango

    skibare

    combine Wireless Video Cellular with Wifi…wow!

  7. I’m sure they’d be able to track you even without the VPN client expecially if you have to login to use it.

    I agree.. this article didn’t really tell you anything about it besides that it works and you can get a wifi modem for your house

  8. HELLO – they can track you because you will be going thru their network to get to the web. They don’t need spec. software. I can see everything that moves thru my wireless router, don’t you think they can?

  9. Neal Saferstein Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Have you tried Skype on it ?

    Neal Saferstein

  10. Christopher Yee Mon Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Is there a Linux client for this secure access client?

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