Google tests providing free Wi-Fi access in America took its first foot holdings in the UK this week with the announcement that the company is to offer travellers at Heathrow Terminal One free Wi-Fi to check emails.

In what is also the company's first physical presence, the search engine is setting up an internet cafe-style computing booth in London's Heathrow Airport.
The temporary installation, termed Google Space, consists of ten Samsung laptops in the public lounge of Terminal One at London's main airport.

Lorraine Twohill, Google's European Director of Marketing Programmes, said: "People waste so much time hanging around in airports. Google Space will help people make that wasted time useful. And for Google, Space is a live lab where people can test our most up-to-date products, and give us their feedback".

The stand will be staffed by at least two Google employees from 0700 to 1900 every day for the duration of the trial, which will run until 19 December.

Google staff will be flown in from around the world to man the station. As part of the Space, people will also be able to provide feedback on Google's products, the first time the company has created such an open forum.

The scheme is due to end at the end of December, but Google said, that if successful, it hopes to continue it and extend it to other airports. Google products being shown at Google Space include Google Earth, Google Local, Google Toolbar, Picasa and Google Mobile.