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Google Korea started to provide free Wi-Fi at Starbucks

Posted: December 22nd, 2008, by Yunho Chung

Google Korea started to provide free Wi-Fi at Starbucks with KT. This is the first aggressive marketing in Korean market, also it is the first off-line marketing in Korea. Actually Starbucks Korea and KT already set up KT’s Wi-Fi network, called Nespot, at Starbucks’ stores three years ago, which was not free.

Google is providing free Wi-Fi using this Nespot network. People are connected to iGoogle, Google’s personalized page service, as a main page at first when they’re trying to connect to the internet. However login is not needed, only iGoogle is exposed at first for using Wi-Fi free.

In Korea, there are 276 Starbucks stores and 170 stores of those are in Seoul. So, I guess that this promotion definitely will help Google Korea to get closer to Korean users.

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60 Responses to Google Korea started to provide free Wi-Fi at Starbucks

  1. Dan

    I tried to use this today and there is a login required. A national ID number is required, which doesn’t seem to work (though I could be wrong) with foreigner IDs.

    They first ask if you’d like to add it as a tab to your iGoogle account. After agreeing to this, then you are asked for your name, ID, and email address. I kept getting a message that my name needed to use hangul. Of course, the field isn’t big enough to make my long name in Korean and I don’t really think that it would matter if it did.


  2. Andrew

    “However login is not needed, only iGoogle is exposed at first for using Wi-Fi free.”

    Well, as Dan said, a login definitely is needed. Not only are you required to login using your name (must be verified) and ID number, but you also have to leave an email address. In case you are wondering, I got my first Spam Mail today from Which, I am absolutely sure is a direct result, as it is the only Korean spam mail I’ve ever gotten on my gmail account.

    I called the number on the back of the “Free Wi-Fi” brochure (100), and after having to explain to about 10 different people where I was, what I was using, and why I was calling, I finally got connected to a guy who assured me that there would be a sign up page for foreigners within the month of February.

    Now, of course, there is an English version, but it doesn’t work. Why would it? Obviously my personal information (ID number, Name, Address, visa Status) are not public information… are they? And if all this is public information, then what would be the point in having a private ID number anyway?

    Not only is this all confusing, and a huge hassle, but I am really disappointed in Google for teaming up with KT and offering a service that seems to violate their own personal code, “Do no evil” - I can not imagine proliferation of spam mail, segregation, and totalitarian control over personal information are the status quo for the Internet giant.

    KT on the other hand is probably turning a pretty penny from both supplying google with Korean user statistics, and selling user emails to shady businesses who would use them… apparently those such as Samsung - unless of course the 애니콜 in the spam mail I received is a pseudonym, and is not affiliated with Samsung.

    That’s my rant about it!

    On the bright side, it’s nice to be able to use reliable, free Internet at Starbuck’s, even if I have to borrow a friend’s ID number, and name…

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