London subway system launches free Wi-Fi service as city gears up for Olympics

london tube to get wi fi in time for olympics but its not all good newsLondon’s vast, sprawling subway system — the oldest in the world — is hauling itself into the 21st century with the roll-out of Wi-Fi at some of its stations this week.

The move comes as the city gears up for the start of the Olympics on July 27. Transport for London (TfL), the body that manages the network, said passengers at stations such as Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Stratford and King’s Cross will now be able to use their mobile devices to connect to the web.

There are plans to have around 80 stations connected by the end of next month, and another 40 before the year’s out. The service will be free until the end of the Olympics.

The Guardian headed below ground on Thursday to see what commuters made of the new service.

Trainee psychologist Lucy Butler didn’t appear to be overly impressed. “I don’t think it’s that practical with people rushing [around],” she told the newspaper. “I guess I might check the directions when I’m lost.”

TfL’s partner for the initiative, Virgin Media, called this week’s launch “a truly historic moment,” though according to the Guardian, few people on the platforms appeared to be aware of the new service.

Still, Gareth Powell, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development, seemed happy with the way things were going. “Bringing a next generation Wi-Fi service to one of the world’s oldest underground transport networks is progressing as planned,” he said in a statement.

“The first stations include some of our busiest and most well-known destinations and we’re on-track for a successful launch this summer — all delivered at no additional cost to fare payers or tax payers.”

Keep in mind though, the Wi-Fi signal will only be available on platforms, not on the trains themselves — though with long waits for trains a fact of life for some users of London’s subway system, there should be plenty of time to log into Facebook, post a few tweets, send some emails, surf the web, play Words With Friends, download some apps….

[Image: Jose AS Reyes / Shutterstock]

Home Theater

Google Translate busts out of Pixel jail, now works on any Assistant headphones

The best feature of Google’s Pixel Buds was the built-in real-time translation. Now that incredibly useful feature is available on any headphones that feature Google Assistant integration.
Deals

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.
Mobile

Huawei is working on a 5G foldable phone, the Mate 20 X may be its template

Huawei is working on a folding 5G smartphone, according to the company's CEO, Richard Yu. He also provoked speculation the phone may have something in common with the massive Mate 20 X and its 7.2-inch screen.
Product Review

We can’t find a reason to buy the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS over the Mate 20 Pro

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro looks like an exceptional phone, so can a version with Porsche Design’s involvement be worth spending twice as much on? We’ve taken the phone for a test drive.
Mobile

Apple sends out invites for October hardware event, new iPad Pro expected

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Mobile

Number not recognized? Here's why you're receiving calls from 'Scam Likely'

While it may seem like a bold marketing move to tag your calls "Scam Likely," these alerts are actually your carrier's way of helping you identify scams. Here, we'll walk you through what exactly these markers mean and how you can turn them…
Music

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much is Spotify Premium going to cost you, you will want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.
Mobile

Master your new Google phone with these handy Pixel 3 and 3 XL tips

If you’re hunting for some Pixel 3 tips to help you get more from your Google phone, then you’ll find them right here. We’ve got tips for shortcuts, camera controls, and more. All these tips will also work for the Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are now available for purchase

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

The world’s thinnest smartphone fits alongside your business cards

Kyocera has taken the wraps off of a new smartphone called the KY-O1L. The device is a tiny 5.3mm thick and is specifically billed as being a phone that can fit inside a business card holder.
Social Media

Grow your Twitter audience overnight with these simple tips and tricks

Using Twitter can be intimidating, but these tips will help you feel less inadequate when you look at your follower count. As long as you use a bit of moderation, you'll soon be one step closer to social media fame.