Google is looking to replace pay phones across cities with LED displays that provide free Wi-Fi hotspots. And LinkNYC, a wireless hotspot provider in New York City, is the inspiration for how the project will work.
New York's LinkNYC initiative said in November last year they planned to replace pay phones with displays equipped with free Wi-Fi hotspots. And by the end of 2015, we should expect to see 500 LinkNYC units installed, with the project ultimately planning to have 10,000 operational displays across NYC.
Google's SideWalk Labs, which works to rethink urban living with technology, announced on Facebook that Control Group and Titan, the two companies behind LinkNYC, are reforming as a new company called Intersection which will work to bring the same service to cities across the country.
The LinkNYC units don't remove the functionality of pay phones either, you can actually make domestic calls in the side console for free. Plus, the displays are projected to generate $500 million for NYC after 12 years, according to The Verge. How? By showing ads to pedestrians of course.
LinkNYC's business model works perfectly with Google's ambitions to bring the Internet to more people while turning an ad-based profit. Google can feature ads on the console's monitors and even place ads on the browser you use to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot, all while harvesting valuable data from users.
So don't look any further than LinkNYC to get an idea of what Google has in store for the rest of urban America.