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Google's Sidewalk Labs is taking over the plan to blanket NYC with free Wi-Fi

Google's Sidewalk Labs is taking over the plan to blanket NYC with free Wi-Fi

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Earlier this month, Google announced the creation of Sidewalk Labs, an independent, Google-owned company that would focus on improving city living through technology innovations. At the time, Google didn't give any details about what projects it would be working on first, but now it seems that Sidewalk Labs is going to dive into the challenge of bringing widespread Wi-Fi to big cities — starting with New York City.

Sidewalk Labs just announced that it is launching Intersection — another new company formed of Control Group and Titan. While those names may not mean anything to you, Control Group and Titan were two of the key players behind the LinkNYC plan that was announced last fall. LinkNYC's goal was to convert the city's old phone booths into 10,000 ad-supported Wi-Fi "pylons," a plan that Bloomberg says is still scheduled to begin this fall. From there, the plan is to roll out similar programs in other cities, though where exactly this will happen hasn't been announced yet.

The pylons aren't designed just for Wi-Fi, either — the original LinkNYC plan called for them to also provide cell phone charging, free domestic phone calls, and a touchscreen for finding city info, transit directions, and other such services. How exactly these plans might change now that Sidewalk Labs is taking over the LinkNYC initiative remains to be seen, but we've asked Google for more information.