Marriot’s free Wi-Fi comes with a surprising extra

Hotels usually charge their patrons an abysmal rate for their Wi-Fi service. A hotel which doesn’t charge their clients for the latter usually comes one in a million. Even big named vacation houses can charge you a fee just so you can use their connection.

Well, Courtyard Marriot in Midtown Manhattan isn’t one of them. The said hotel enables their guests to use their Wi-Fi connection for free. But it comes with a price.

According to a Web engineer who was using the free service at his hotel room the free service was secretly injecting lines of code into all the pages he visited. This said code allows it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site or the visitor.

The said Web engineer is Justin Watt. He was aghast with this intrusion as he compared this to a logistics company. He said, “Imagine the USPS, FedEx, for that matter, opening your Amazon boxes and injecting ads into the packages.”

The lines of code include references to “rxg”. The latter stands for Revenue eXtraction Gateway, it is a service that is aimed at generating income from Internet access points. On the website of RG Nets which makes the “rxg”, they explain that the system rewrites every Web page to include a banner ad. In their video it says, “As you can see, the pervasive nature of the advertising banner on all Web pages guarantees banner advertising impression.”

Image Source: marriot.com

Google’s gift: Free in-flight Wi-fi

Yup, Google is feeling quite generous as the gift-giving season is slowly approaching.

The internet giant has teamed up with Virgin America to bring free Wi-Fi Internet to the latter’s flights from November 10, 2009 to January 15, 2010.

The internet service itself will be provided by Gogo, an in-flight broadband provider owned by Aircell. And as Information Week put it, Google will be “picking up the tab” during the two-month period.

But wait! Just because it’s free doesn’t mean people can do just about anything they want on the Web. Certain limitations have been enforced by Gogo’s Terms of Service to ensure that passengers can get the best in-flight web experience. These restrictions include requiring users not to display offensive content that that can be seen by fellow passengers and the prohibit of use of VOIP applications like Skype.

According to the company, VoIP blocking was implemented to manage bandwidth use and to prevent passengers from annoying each other with their phone chatter.  🙂

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/google/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=220700186

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Free Wi-Fi on Barnes & Noble stores

You can now buy and download eBooks right in the stores of Barnes & Noble thanks to the launching of free Wi-Fi in their bookstores yesterday.

Of course, the free wireless hotspots will be provided through AT&T, the same company that has provided Barnes & Noble paid Wi-Fi network since 2005. And if you’re wondering how many stores B&N has, that’ll be 777 stores in 50 states.

The free Wi-Fi service from the store is to boost its eBook business to further counter their main rival, Amazon, which jumpstarted the eBook market with their very own eBook reader, the Kindle.

And for you guys who still hasn’t heard the news, Barnes & Noble will soon have their exclusive eBook reader from Plastic Logic and will be released to the public by 2010.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218700259&subSection=All+Stories

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