In an effort to pick up a few new subscribers while at the same time gathering useful user data, the Wall Street Journal is offering free Wi-Fi across large parts of New York City and San Francisco from now until the end of September.

More than 1,300 hotspots have been set up by the news company, located in areas such as Times Square, Union Square, and the West Village. In fact, almost 70 percent of Manhattan is covered by the free service. It’s also available in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

As for San Francisco, the Journal’s Wi-Fi network can be joined in locations such as Washington Square, Nob Hill, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

If you’re an existing digital subscriber with the Journal, you can jump right in using your usual log-in information. Print subscribers and new users, on the other hand, must first register – for free. The network will be easy to find, aptly named “The Wall Street Journal WiFi”.

New Yorkers on the move are already able to hook up to a number of hotspots provided in a joint initiative by Boingo and Google Offers. Their service has six MTA stations offering free Wi-Fi, along with 200 other locations throughout Manhattan. Like the Wall Street Journal’s offer, Boingo and Google’s service will cease to be free come the end of summer.

Oh, and don’t forget New York’s pay-phone kiosks too – the city government has created free Wi-Fi spots using 10 of its public pay-phone kiosks in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. The set-up is part of a pilot scheme which, if all goes well, could see all 12,360 of the city’s kiosks turned into free hotspots. In another local government initiative, a number of parks in New York are also offering free Wi-Fi.

[paidContent via engadget] [Image: Alex Mit / Shutterstock]