A handy thing about being a giant corporation is that you're able to use one of your services to promote another. Google's been known to do this from time to time, and it's at it again: right now, Google Fi subscribers can snag a free Google Photos photo book.
Yesterday, Google's Project Fi wireless service dropped the Project from its name. Google Fi had a banger of a deal in honor of its new nomenclature, offering up to $1,000 in travel gift cards with the purchase and activation of a new device. That offer expired earlier than expected, but there are still deals to be had. Now, if you port your number and bring your own device to the service, you get a month of service for free.
When Google revealed Project Fi had become Google Fi (and added support for a whole lot of new devices) this morning, it also launched a tempting one-day deal. Today, November 28th, anyone who purchases a phone through Google Fi before 11:59 PM PT can get up to a $1,000 credit from Airbnb, Hotels.com, Southwest Airlines, or Delta Air Lines.
Project Fi has made the leap that all fledgling Google projects aspire to - after around three-and-a-half years, it has dropped the "project" and evolved into "Google Fi," with a brand new logo to boot. Along with the name change, Google has announced that the wireless provider now supports "the majority of Android devices," including Samsung and OnePlus handsets, and iPhones (in beta).
Project Fi's been around for three-and-a-half years now, meaning it's not really a "project" anymore. It looks like Google may be agreeing with that sentiment, given that one redditor reportedly received this pamphlet with an unannounced "Google Fi" name and a new logo inside his/her Pixel 3 box alongside one with the current branding.
Last month, an APK teardown revealed that Project Fi, Google's wireless network, was preparing to offer group plans. Now group plans are official, and admittedly, the pricing isn't spectacular.
Project Fi already offers $20 a month for Fi Basics, which is unlimited talk and text. Every GB of data is $10, but Fi credits back any data you don't use. Now you can add up to five additional people to your Fi plan, who each pay $15/month for Fi Basics and the same $10 per GB. So by going with a group plan, you're saving $5 per person.
Google Fi is one of the best carriers, especially in the United States, when it comes to international roaming. International data costs the same as domestic rates, cellular calls are $0.20 per minute, and there's even free texting. Google Fi also gives you alerts when you're reaching your data cap. Well, except for international data usage.
But all that is changing, and starting now you will receive alerts for international data usage like you would domestically. This is the first phase of improvements to Google Fi's international tracking, according to Reddit user /u/ProjectFiCM (who has been verified to actually be from Google). Phase
Google's Fi mobile virtual network allows users an impressive amount of fine grain control when it comes to selecting their data allowances. That being the case, it's especially important for users on low tiers to be aware of said usage, and to limit their data consumption when they stray away from the Wi-Fi homestead. A bug in the system created a problem there: it sometimes kept the GSM and/or LTE connection active if a user turned the data toggle off while still on Wi-Fi.
As if there was any doubt, both the LG Nexus 5X and the Huawei Nexus 6P, introduced today at Google's yearly Nexus event, will be compatible with Project Fi. That makes them just the second and third phones (after the Nexus 6 from last year) to be available on Google's combination Wi-Fi/LTE mobile virtual network, which uses both the T-Mobile and Sprint networks as a backbone. Fi switches rapidly between T-Mobile, Sprint, and Wi-Fi (VOIP) for data and calls, and that little extra functionality means that conventional smartphones need not apply.
Ready for Google's vision of a modern cell phone service provider? So are we. Google Fi isn't quite prepared to open its doors, but right now it's accepting sign-ups for invitations at this site. The service isn't quite ready to launch, but according to the site and the video, lucky invitees will be allowed in sometime in the next week. Google will allow batches of customers in each week, but you should get a "yes" or "no" answer within 30 days.
We know pretty much what to expect from Google Fi thanks to a couple of high-profile leaks. Check it out here, after you're done getting your invitation in - there are likely to be hundreds of thousands of applicants, so do it quickly.