Exclusive: Google’s free WiFi for Google+ promo doesn’t work (yet?)

Posted on January 28, 2012. Filed under: andriod, innovation, internet, mobile |

As Google continues to tackle the antitrust doubts raised dues to their tighter Google+ integration in search, Google India is working on bringing on more users to the platform. As part of this promotion, Google India has tied up with WiFi hotspot provider O-Zone and is offering free WiFi for Google+ and YouTube. As the news broke and my boredom increased, I dug deeper.

O-Zone, a competitor to the more popular Tikona, is little known of. Browsing through their website I came across a list of hotspots in Mumbai and a How-To on connecting to O-Zone’s WiFi hotspots. Armed with my Samsung Focus (Airtel 3G) and a Nokia Lumia 800 (no cellular network) I decided to do what anyone sitting at home completely bored would do—hit the road to test this partnership. Out of the many listed in the city, I visited three:

1: Inorbit Mall, Malad

I entered the mall and searched for a WiFi signal on the Lumia 800. I got a few, but none were named O-Zone. I headed to the food court and used my MacBook Air. The only WiFi network that I could use was the mall’s own paid WiFi service:

A pretty bad start I’d say.

2: Cafe Coffee Day, Lokhandwala

Cafe Coffee Day is like India’s Starbucks. While Starbucks offers free WiFi to their customers, this particular CCD had no WiFi networks to connect to. I asked the cashier if there was any network and he said, “No WiFi here sir.” Two locations, both listed on O-Zone’s website as active hotspots turned out to be a bust.

3: Cafe Coffee Day, Oberoi Mall, Goregaon

I had given up but it would’ve been unfair if I tried just two of 20+ listed hotspots. Third time lucky perhaps, but I got the O-Zone WiFi network at Oberoi Mall. Finally! Now let’s see how good is streaming YouTube videos I said to myself. My excitement was short lived since I couldn’t get past registering for O-Zone. Disappointed sitting at the mall, I shot a video of myself trying to connect to O-Zone’s WiFi network for free access to Google+:

I sent the marketing team at O-Zone an email about my experience. Here’s the response:

PS: Everyone who reported about this promotion owes me Rs. 250 and a cup of coffee.

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