So the rumors are true. Google will build a free wifi network in San Francisco. Is this a good move? It really depends on what Google will do with it.
Does it fit with Google's core areas of competency? Not exactly. It doesn't directly follow their mission of organizing all the world's information. So why are they doing it? I think Google is under the impression that the costs of processing power, storage, and bandwidth are rapidly approaching zero. And when they hit that point, WiFi will be everywhere.
So why the vertical integration move? To prepare for the future. According to Chris Sacca, Google will use the system to test location based services and features. Will Google do the same thing in other cities? Maybe. It's an interesting way to build a free phone service, which Google could then monetize by allowing you to record and search your conversations. Or maybe that isn't what they intend to do.
What is Google thinking? Leave a comment if you have an idea.