Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm.
How Much User Data Is Boingo Sharing With Free-NYC-WiFi-Sponsor Google? Apparently, None
My first question was: Well, what’s in it for Google? The Boingo login page encourages you to sign up for Google Offers, but is that all Google is getting?
Or is its sponsorship also buying it a bunch of user and subway-wifi-usage data from Boingo? Google is, after all, in the acquiring-user-information business. And it might be interesting to see what sort of web usage happens in the subway. This could be useful for location-based ad targeting, or whatever.
But a Boingo rep says it’s not giving any user data to Google, period:
Boingo is not providing any user data to Google as part of the Wi-Fi sponsorship in NYC, and no personal information is being collected at the sponsored Boingo Wi-Fi network locations.
I asked a couple follow-ups, looking for loopholes, but got a similar answer each time. It seems that in this case, all Google’s getting is a bunch of potential Google Offers subscribers. And whatever it can collect on its own, via all of its other services — Google Search, Gmail, DoubleClick, YouTube, etc.