Accessing Google for Free On Gogo

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disclaimer i don’t normally fly on Gogo-equipped planes, so this might have been a fluke on my American Airlines flight yesterday from Dallas to Mexico City, but in case it’s not, here’s a way to while away the hours next time you’re on a Gogo flight.

it appears that you can access sites that are on the google.com domain for free on Gogo. the trick is to use //google.com (again, https). regular //google.com will bounce you to the Gogo purchase page. also, it won’t work with subdomains, like mail.google.com (so no GMail), and no webcache.google.com (so you won’t be able to sneak by and view pages by using the cache: operator), no maps.google.com (i.e., no Google Maps). ┬áthis doesn’t sound like much, but you can actually do quite a bit with just google.com.

i’m assuming Gogo has a reason to let this through, or else it would be closed off, since you can’t access http Google, nor can you access other sites via https (i tried Facebook and Foursquare). the key is to just go to //google.com and then search for something, then select the other types of searches (e.g., news, shopping, etc.) from the top bar to access more features. note that you can access Google Flights (the last screenshot) via //google.com/flights. if you’re on an iPhone, just cancel out of the login screen once it pops up and choose “Use without internet” — otherwise it will disconnect you from the wireless network. this worked on my laptop as well, and on my phone after i restarted it.

mostly-travel-handy things you can do

Regular searches (note that the map that appears is a thumbnail; you can't use maps.google.com)

Regular searches (note that the map that appears is a thumbnail; you can’t use maps.google.com)

Autocomplete works!

Autocomplete works!

Money conversions (I love this feature)

Money conversions (I love this feature)

Image searches

Image searches

Sports scores

Sports scores

News

News (although again, you can’t actually read any of the stories)

Google shopping to compare prices (though you can't actually buy anything.)

Google shopping to compare prices (though you can’t actually buy anything.)

Flight shopping comparison (again, you can't actually buy any of them since you're blocked from accessing other sites)

Flight price comparison (though, again, you can’t actually buy any of them since you’re blocked from accessing other sites)

other handy things you can do (in case you’re not aware of the full power of Google) but i don’t have screenshots for, are weather (google “weather” + city) and flight information (google your flight number, like “AA 2350”) — pretty much anything searchable.

4 Comments on "Accessing Google for Free On Gogo"

  1. I’ve seen this same thing happen for me on go-go flights. In addition the whole suite of google apps has worked for me; maps, gmail, etc. I can send email through the gmail app and have verified the emails make it to their destination immediately. That said, we should talk about this less, as I really enjoy the “free” use of go-go for email and basic googling, but good to know it isn’t just some crazy fluke with my phone!

    • oh nice! i was unable to get apps to work but maybe that was just me and i didn’t give it enough time. anyways, SHH. [also, that’s why i redacted the name on twitter lol]

  2. Simon - Running For Status | February 3, 2014 at 9:45 am | Reply

    This sort of trick works at some hotels. If you try to load up the browser on your phone it’ll bounce you to the hotel wifi pay page. If you use your smartphone app, the data goes through and the app works just fine without paying for the wifi. It may have something to do the app having direct links whereas browsers depends on DNS servers.

    Try this first before paying for wifi at hotels. I may have done this at IC Puxi Shanghai and Le Meriden People’s Square.

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