Starbucks has joined forces with online media services like iTunes and Yahoo to bring consumers free premium content through their newly formed Starbucks Digital Network. In an nutshell, the Starbucks Digital Network is an unique service that customers can access from their laptop or mobile device from anywhere within reach of a free Starbucks Wi-Fi connection.
As soon as you have logged on to the Wi-Fi connection, you will be directed to the Starbucks Digital Network homepage. If you are just looking for some interesting content as you get your coffee fix, you can then take your pick of a variety of content like some limited free iTunes access and New York Times stories. Users will also have access to local weather and local interest info from services like the Weather Channel, Foursquare, Zagat and more.
Of course, it was only a matter of a couple of hours after Starbucks Digital Network was launched this morning that the usual suspects started offering their personal critiques of the service. Yeah, it’s true that the new service is not to going to revolutionize the way we use content, but you’d have to be a complete cynic not to admit that some of the services that Starbucks Digital Network offers are pretty useful.
For those of us news junkies who are too cheap or too lazy to subscribe for unlimited online access to major news sources like the Wall Street Times and the New York Times, the new Starbucks Digital Network makes the cost of a Pumpkin Spice Grande Soy Milk Enema seem almost reasonable. There’s also a cool new feature that let’s users create their own settings so that all of the content that use the most is ready for them as soon as they log on.
Personally, I’m particularly impressed by some of the local content that they offer users. Living in a relatively small city, I’m often hard pressed to get to know what is actually going on in my community outside of the local nightly news fearfest and out of touch op/ed pieces in the poor excuse for a local paper. If Starbucks and Yahoo can effectively use sources like Foursquare, news aggregators and Yahoo’s own new access to hyper-local content through Associated Content, I can see how a lot of people in less dense urban areas would find access to that sort of content extremely attractive.