Google offers free net access for flyers

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Filling time waiting for your plane to board is set to become a little easier with the launch of Google Space at Heathrow Airport, Terminal One from tomorrow (Thursday). Ten PCs have been set up inside a ‘Google pod’ at the airport in order to draw attention to the fact that Google is more than just a search engine. Using Google Earth, passengers can look at satellite images of their destination while with Google Local they can check out details of restaurants, bars etc anywhere in the world – even get directions to them on a 2D or 3D map. Other free services at the Google Pod include a holiday picture editing service courtesy of Picasa and Google’s gmail e-mail service. Of course it will also be possible to surf the net (again free of charge) using the Firefox browser installed on each of the PCs at the airport.

While T-Mobile, which offers a paid-for wi-fi service at Heathrow Terminal One, might not be too chuffed with the new arrival it’s great news for bored passengers with time to kill. It’s the first time that Google has offered a free public service anywhere in the world and although it’s only due for one month, it’s likely the service will be extended if successful. Tech Digest will be checking out Google Space tomorrow and will report back on the service over the next few days.

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