Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm.

How Much User Data Is Boingo Sharing With Free-NYC-WiFi-Sponsor Google? Apparently, None

Boingo Google WiFiGoogle (specifically, Google Offers) has been sponsoring free Boingo wifi in a few NYC Subway stations this summer.

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.

Btw, you can access Boingo’s customer agreement here and privacy policy here. Boingo gives itself the right to “collect and/or track certain geographic location information that is derived from your usage of the Boingo service such as usage patterns, travel patterns, Web site page views, traffic patterns and information about your geographic location”. But it claims it’s not sharing any of that information with Google.