Google Station, which is Google’s global free Wi-Fi programme, is shutting down across the world. This includes its partnership with Think Wi-Fi in South Africa. “We are transferring our Station operations in South Africa to Think WiFi, who will now carry out the project independently.”
“The launch of the free Wi-Fi initiative in the Western Cape has been more successful than anticipated and plans are already underway to roll free Wi-Fi out to the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and some areas in Mpumalanga,” said Think WiFi CEO Janine Rebelo. Internet sessions are 30 minutes in length, and to initiate or extend a session users must watch a video advert.
We can see now why so many people are getting very cautious about getting excited about anything new from Google. Their core business is Search and is built on advertising. Yes GMail has also been going a long time, as has Maps, but I suspect it is because the information from both is very useful to Google. I also suspect this is why GMail has never got any built-in end-to-end encryption like OpenPGP.
But its not just Google... You need to look at what a company's core products are (those that it stands by and is known for). Microsoft used to be Windows and MS Office (the former has become less important as it moves Office into its cloud offering). But consider how many messenger platforms Microsoft has gone through, and Windows phone... Flight Simulator, MSN Groups, Dynamics Entrepreneur, Questions and Answers. I paid for MS Money back in the day and it was abandoned...
If you can install and use it locally you have a reasonable chance to continue using the abandoned product for a while, but of course if its hosted in the cloud your service could be dead within months. Best is not to assume anything is long term in the digital world.
See Google pulling out of free Wi-Fi project in South Africa
Google Station, which is Google’s global free Wi-Fi programme, is shutting down.