Google's dog and pony show

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By Steven T. Jones
First, Mayor Gavin Newsom tapped his buddies at Google (in partnership with Earthlink) to build a citywide wireless system that would be free to city residents. It was a move that was done without full sunshine and it pissed off some information activists like Media Alliance, but the Department of Telecommunication and Information Services has since conducted a more open and diligent negotiations process with the companies. That caused Google to grouse to the Chron that the city was dragging its feet. So Sup. Jake McGoldrick decided maybe the city should be looking at doing a municipal wifi system instead, which he's having the budget analyst study (if the board approves study this week) and report back on by the end of the year. That's also when DTIS expects to have a final deal with Google/Earthlink -- and when a consultant's study on municipal broadband (that's fiber rather than wifi) is due back. Well, with all this possibility swirling, Google and Earthlink have now announed a series of town hall meeting from now until the end of the year. Game on! Their press release follows: