This is huge. Open Garden is a new mobile and desktop app which allows users to seamlessly share their Internet connection. If this works out and the app gains mass acceptance, it promises to make our world more connected.
It works on a simple principle, at any given point in time — some people in a public place usually have access to the Internet and others do not — Open Garden allows users who are not connected to the Internet piggyback on the bandwidth shared by the ones who do. Of course, this spells bad news for operators because individual Internet plans form a big part of their revenue. But for consumers, it means convenience and better chances of being connected from anywhere.
Open Garden also has plans to introduce a user credit system sometime later, rewarding users with a kind of a virtual Internet currency based on how much bandwidth they’ve shared. The app is currently available for Android, Windows and OS X with an iOS version in the offing.
The San Francisco–based startup recently rolled out a smart-phone app that lets you connect to the Internet by piggybacking on the Web access of other Open Garden app users, using peer-to-peer connections that form a mesh network. The company’s hope is that, in addition to making Internet access ubiquitous, Open Garden will become a platform on top of which developers can build new kinds of mobile services.