Google to offer free internet to all children, family and friends
Google is launching a program to help families, friends and relatives get the internet.
The company said Friday that it will be able to offer unlimited internet access to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or PC, as well as unlimited data to everyone else.
The program will be free for anyone with Google Play credit, which Google said will be available for as long as they have the account.
Google will give each of the millions of people who signed up as early as Friday a free month of Google Play access, the company said.
Google said that people who are new to the program can sign up at any time.
The offer is available in the U.S. only, but will be expanded to other countries.
The news comes as the company faces criticism over its decision to make the search engine more profitable, and as Google faces an international antitrust investigation over the search giant’s Android operating system.
Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., and its core businesses include search, advertising and data-sharing services.
Google announced the program at a Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco.
The search giant also announced plans to expand its partnership with the nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund to support children’s health and education.
The initiative will also give Google Kids, its new kids-focused education platform, a more prominent role in schools, it said.
“We know how important it is for kids to have access to the world’s best schools, and this is a way to do that,” John Burke, vice president of global education and innovation, said in a statement.
Google’s announcement comes as Alphabet’s chief executive officer Sundar Pichai is facing a major political backlash from lawmakers, tech industry groups and consumer advocates who say the company is violating antitrust laws and using its market power to benefit its own businesses.
Pichais said in an interview that he believes Google has “a responsibility to serve children and families around the world,” but he added that the company has “very strong antitrust laws” in place. Read more Google also announced an initiative to help educate students on cybersecurity.
It said that Google Kids will be added to Google Play and that the initiative will offer the company access to a large pool of educators.
Google said the initiative comes as it works to create a more inclusive environment at the company, as it seeks to improve its diversity and inclusion efforts.
The social network said that the program will provide access to resources for employees who work in schools and community-based organizations.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. announced plans for a $4 billion acquisition of the video-sharing service Vimeo.