Starbucks Rolls Out Free Wifi Today in US and Canada

Starbucks has always had many novel ways of suctioning the money straight out of your wallet. There's the coffee, to start. The snacks. The Starbucks-approved book and CD sales. And for years, the shops operated under a series of different complicated pay schemes for those who wanted to use their laptops while dropping thirty bucks on a latte, a scone and the newest Jack Johnson CD or compilation of Tuvan throat-singing.

But recently (as in like just two weeks ago), 'Bux corporate and Howard Schultz announced that all Starbucks locations were going to be offering free wifi to the masses--a gift to America (and Canada) that elicited about as much excitement as getting a hand-knitted sweater from Grandma on Christmas morning . Mike Seely wrote about the announcement here, but we've brought it up again today because today is July 1 and July 1 is the day that this radical new program of offering something for free that is already free almost everywhere else actually goes into effect.

But because nothing in the Starbucks universe can ever just be simple, in addition to the free one-click hook-up, the company is also offering all sorts of partnership content across its new Yahoo-driven "Starbucks Digital Network," offering access to premium (meaning paid) content from providers like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, iTunes, ZAGAT and Yahoo.

Yeah, Yahoo. I know.

But anyway, on this auspicious day, we just wanted to say a quick congratulations to Starbucks on finally catching up with the rest of the world on this whole internet thing. So welcome to 2005, Starbucks! We're so glad you could finally make it.

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