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Google: Free WiFi at airports this holiday season

Google's free WiFi at 47 airports kicks off today, and runs through January 15.

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Now, that's quite a list of destinations, but in addition, Google is picking up the tab for Virgin America's in-flight Wi-Fi, so jetters can do their holiday shopping from 35,000 feet without paying a fee.

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Where's the catch? This is Google – they must be mining your data, building a profile on you, or they wouldn't be giving this away, right? Actually, no.

In fact, on login, Google will invite users to donate (via Google Checkout, natch) to Climate Savers Computing, Engineers Without Borders, or One Economy Corporation. Google will match contributions to each, up to $250,000 total, and will give the airport responsible for the most donations $15,000 to donate to the local non-profit of its choice.

The only slightly commercial aspect of Google's gesture is that, when logging on to the free Wi-Fi, users will be encouraged to try out the Google Chrome browser, and to change their homepages to Google. But hey, both of those are free (and easy to ignore), and Chrome actually has some pretty impressive security chops.

Read more about Google's free airport Wi-Fi here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter – we're @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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