Google heads down new path with ‘OnHub’ wire­less router

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Google is mak­ing a Wi- Fi router as part of its am­bi­tion to pro­vide bet­ter In­ter­net con­nec­tions that make it eas­ier for peo­ple to ac­cess its dig­i­tal ser­vices and see more of its online advertising.

Pre- or­ders for the US$ 199 wire­less router, called OnHub, can be made be­gin­ning Tues­day at Google’s online store, Ama­zon. com and Wal­mart. com. The de­vice will go on sale in stores in the U. S. and Canada in late Au­gust or early Septem­ber.

Google is tout­ing the cylin­der­shaped OnHub as a leap ahead in a ne­glected part of tech­nol­ogy.

The Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pany is promis­ing its wire­less router will be sleeker, more re­li­able, more se­cure and eas­ier to use than other longestab­lished al­ter­na­tives made by the Ar­ris Group, Net­gear, Ap­ple and other hard­ware spe­cial­ists. Google teamed up with net­work­ing de­vice maker TP- Link to build OnHub.

OnHub also will adapt to the evolv­ing needs of its own­ers be­cause its soft­ware will be regularly up­dated to un­lock new fea­tures, ac­cord­ing to Trond Wuell­ner, a Google Inc. prod­uct man­ager. The con­cept is sim­i­lar to the au­to­matic soft­ware up­grades the com­pany makes to its Chrome browser and per­sonal com­put­ers run­ning on its Chrome op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

Wuell­ner ex­pects most peo­ple will be able to set up OnHub in three min­utes or less. The router is de­signed to be man­aged with a mo­bile app called Google On that will work on Ap­ple’s iPhone, as well as de­vices run­ning on Google’s An­droid soft­ware.

Google’s ex­pan­sion into wire­less routers may con­jure up mem­o­ries of how the com­pany tres­passed on the Wi- Fi net­works in homes and busi­nesses around the world for more than two years be­gin­ning in 2008.

In 2010, Google ac­knowl­edged that com­pany cars tak­ing photos for its dig­i­tal maps also had been in­ter­cept­ing emails, pass­words and other sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion sent over un­pro­tected Wi- Fi net­works. The in­tru­sion be­came de­ri­sively known as “Wi- Spy” among Google’s crit­ics.

Although Google in­sisted it hadn’t bro­ken any laws, it paid US$ 7 mil­lion in 2013 to set­tle al­le­ga­tions of illegal eavesdropping in the U. S. made by 38 states and the Dis­trict of Columbia.

Google is pledg­ing not to use OnHub to mon­i­tor a user’s In­ter­net ac­tiv­ity. The com­pany will still store per­sonal in­for­ma­tion sent through an In­ter­net con­nec­tion tied to OnHub when a user vis­its Google’s search en­gine or other ser­vices, such as YouTube or Gmail, with the pri­vacy con­trols set to per­mit the data col­lec­tion. This is the same data col­lec­tion Google does when users of its ser­vices visit through any router.

The new router rep­re­sents the latest phase in Google’s mis­sion to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to be online.

AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Google shows Google’s Wi-Fi router. Pre-or­ders for the US$199 wire­less router, called OnHub, can be made Tues­day, Aug. 18 at Google’s online store, Ama­zon.com and Wal­mart.com. The Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pany is promis­ing its wire­less router will be sleeker, more re­li­able, more se­cure and eas­ier to use than other long-es­tab­lished al­ter­na­tives made by the Ar­ris Group, Net­gear, Ap­ple and other hard­ware spe­cial­ists.

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