Google’s plans for supporting metropolitan wifi access points in major cities are becomming a bit clearer. Google has applied for a patent on a technique to show wifi users ads based on the location of the wireless access point they are using. Such ad supported wifi hotspots can be free or heavily discounted. Google might also be able to draw on additional information it has about users to further refine the ad selection. Kevin Newcomb writes
One benefit put forth in the application is to give wireless Internet providers an ad-supported business model to offer free or discounted Wi-Fi access to users. This would help overcome the “the gap between what Wi-Fi operators charge and what casual mobile users are typically willing to pay,” according to the document. … The document describes applications of the patent where ads would be shown in a toolbar, on a Web page, or during page transitions. It also specifies that ads would continue to be served regardless of whether a Web page, or other document being viewed is updated.
This ties in rather nicely with Google GeoAds that appear on Google local searches.