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Report: Google planning to offer Wi-Fi access and equipment to small businesses

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(Reuters) – Google Inc plans to offer Wi-Fi network hardware and software at a discount to small and medium-sized businesses, tech blog The Information reported on Wednesday, citing a confidential document it accessed and a person who was briefed on the project.

Google would provide commercial-grade Wi-Fi access equipment at a steep discount and Web-based software for businesses to manage the Wi-Fi network from anywhere, the blog report said, but it did not provide specific pricing details.

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Google may require Wi-Fi users to “sign in” to their Google account, allowing the company to gather more information about them and target advertising to them.

Google also plans to share some data with the business owners to help them learn about their customer habits, although it was not clear what the Internet giant might be willing to share, the blog said.

The offering, which is aimed at millions of businesses such as restaurants, doctors’ offices and gyms, could be unveiled as soon as this summer, it said.

(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Ken Wills)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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2020 Election

GOP scrambling to pay for Jacksonville convention after Trump yanked it from North Carolina: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Republican officials are having difficulties getting donors to pay for the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida after Donald Trump yanked the gathering out of Charlotte, North Carolina in a fit of pique over COVID-19 health restrictions.

At issue, the report notes, is that millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina where a smaller event will now be held, and now the party is, in essence, forced to pay for a second convention.

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As much of US marks a muted Independence Day, Trump encourages big parties

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While public health officials are urging Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted July 4 celebrations amid a spike of coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump is going big for what he is promising will be a “special evening” in the nation's capital.

Trump is set hold his “Salute for America” celebration Saturday with a speech from the White House South Lawn that he says will celebrate American heritage, a military flyover over Washington, and an enormous fireworks display that is expected to draw thousands to the National Mall.

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COVID-19

COVID-19 close to overwhelming Houston’s vast healthcare complex

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Despite its claim to host the world's largest concentration of hospitals and research labs, the city of Houston is dangerously close to being overwhelmed by the explosion of coronavirus cases sweeping across Texas.

Since the Memorial Day weekend in late May and major anti-racism protests in June, "it is an unbelievable trajectory," as if the flood gates had opened, said Faisal Masud, director of critical care at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Masud has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 since it reached Houston.

"This has been relentless for us," he told AFP. "We didn't get a break."

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