Google's plan to offer free Wi-Fi to every city in America took a giant leap in the right direction for the company this week with the news that it has just won approval to offer free Wi-Fi for its hometown of Mountain View.

Google will blanket the entire city of Mountain View with free Wi-Fi - no strings (or wires) attached. It already provides free Wi-Fi in Union Square in San Francisco, and in New York's Rockefeller Center.

Google has made it clear that the Mountain View Wi-Fi offering is prelude to much larger things. The company views it as pilot and testing ground for a potentially much larger, nationwide rollout.

“The company wants to use Mountain View as a test site to learn more about the cost and the challenges of building and supporting a wireless network, with the ultimate aim of driving more traffic to Google", Google product manager Minnie Ingersoll told the San Jose Mercury News.

Google will be able to use the service to offer users localised advertising based on the hotspot they access presenting a huge revenue earner if the service was to go global, while at the same time offering users free internet access.