Google’s Area 120 experiment incubator may be launching an app called “Orion” to help make it easy to pay for WiFi access while on the go.

When using WiFi in public, admittedly not something that’s happening as often for most in 2020, you’re going to pay for that internet access one way or another — whether by buying a coffee from a cafe, by sharing your email address, or simply paying for access.

According to a new trademark filing from Google, the company is looking at a new way for you to pay for WiFi networks on your phone. The trademark points to a new mobile app, “Orion,” that uses microtransactions to buy access to certain networks.

Update 9/8: Since the publication of this article, Area 120 has formally announced Orion Wifi, which is significantly different from how the trademark filing describes it.

ORION™ trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of downloadable software for mobile devices for use in processing of financial microtransactions; downloadable software for mobile devices for use in processing of financial microtransactions to purchase access to Wi-Fi and cellular networks; downloadable software for mobile devices for managing roaming on Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

From our reading of this, it sounds like Orion may use funds you’ve charged to your account to automatically connect to supported WiFi networks and pay for access. It’s hard to be certain though, as trademarks are typically vague, and Google hasn’t yet shared anything publicly about Orion.

Through a bit of digging, we believe that Orion will be the latest app from Area 120, Google’s “incubator” of experimental apps and projects that usually tend to get rolled into existing Google products. We’ve found what looks to be a future landing page for Orion once it launches, though for now it simply brings you to a Wix error page.

Once we all get back to working away from home, would you consider using a service like Orion to pay for better internet access on the go? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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