The Information reports Google (GOOG +1.7%), in a fresh attempt to boost usage of the its services, plans to offer small/mid-sized retail businesses "heavily subsidized" Wi-Fi hardware/software; the businesses would have to pay for the actual Web access. Automatic login would be provided via the HotSpot 2.0 standard.
No word on whether Google plans to use home-grown hardware, or a third party's. Aruba (ARUN +0.8%) is supplying access points for Google's Starbucks Wi-Fi deal (involves Web access, rather than subsidized hardware). Ubiquiti (UBNT -1.3%) is targeting the SMB Wi-Fi market with aggressively-priced products.
Newly-acquired Nest Labs is recalling 440K Nest Protect smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors due to a glitch that can lead users to accidentally turn them off with a hand gesture. Nest halted sales of Protect due to the issue in April, and began work on a software update.
In addition to declaring it needs $20B-$30B in foreign cash for M&A (possibly to appease regulators who want the funds repatriated/taxed), Google's December letter to the SEC (just published) raised eyebrows by stating the company might one day serve ads on "refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities."
However, Google has responded to the uproar by stating the remarks don't reflect its current product roadmap, and that's "in contact with the SEC to clarify the language" in the filing.