What is Sidewalks Labs’ business model?
You might have heard about Sidewalk Labs, which is backed by Google and plans to repurpose phone booths all over New York City as wifi hubs. They are also planning to install large advertising screens on the sides of the phone booths to display dynamic advertising to passersby. A few comments and questions.
- When you use that wifi, they can track what you do.
- Even if you don’t use it, if you walk by with a wifi-enabled device (smart phone), the phone booth will sense your device and tag you.
- Presumably this is not charity. They will expect to make ad revenue with their screens.
- Best guess: they will tailor the advertisements depending on who is walking by and what they’re doing.
- The overall negotiation then is that we are willing to exchange free wifi for having our experience in a public space tracked by a private company. I’m not sure we are all thinking that’s a good deal.
- They plan to do it in other cities, using street lamps and bus shelters as well.
- Prepare to enter into a realm of existence one step closer to Blade Runner.