Google has launched a Wi-Fi network that covers the local town where its headquarters are based.

City residents, businesses, and visitors to Mountain View, California will be able to access the "GoogleWiFi" wireless (802.11b/g) signal that is transmitted from street lamps across the city.

The free service is available to anyone with a wireless enabled device or laptop.

According to a post on the company's blog "This network is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are".

However the company did not say that it was planning using the scheme as a test bed for rolling out free Wi-Fi across other American cities.

"Another goal of this network is to promote alternative access technologies by using Mountain View as an example for organizations considering investments in the Wi-Fi arena. We think successful mesh wireless deployments will promote competition, create cheaper access alternatives, and (if done correctly) foster open, standards-compliant platforms for content and service providers to showcase their applications without the hassle of the traditional walled-garden approach."