Starbucks Just Became Google’s Best Friend

Soon, your nearby Starbucks will offer to power your devices wirelessly. Credit: Powermat.

How about a venti, no-foam, vanilla latte while you charge up your beleaguered phone? If that sounds enticing, then Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) has a pitch for you. The caffeine king is working with Duracell's Powermat to bring wireless chargers to all of its stores.

My Foolish colleague Rich Duprey explains the deal, and what it means for Starbucks, here. I'd rather focus on what it means for Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) . Yes, you read that right: Google.

A short history of owning the Internet, one coffee shop at a time
In May, a website called The Information reported that Google would begin supplying low-cost Wi-Fi equipment to all sorts of retailers. Last summer, the search king specifically teamed with Starbucks to outfit all 7,000 of its U.S. locations. Adding wireless power takes the entire effort to a new level.

Who gets the better end of the arrangement? You'd think Starbucks, if only because the act of entering a store -- even if it's just to charge up -- increases the odds you'll buy a drink or a snack. But Google wins, too. More convenient access to power allows us to spend more time online searching for answers to life's pressing questions, such as how to get to that out-of-the-way restaurant you've been dying to try.

For Google, which trades on data about us and our habits, every moment we spend online has the potential to become a monetizable event.

The "be-everywhere" strategy
Once you fully process that, Google's giveaways start to make sense. From drones to balloons to satellite-delivered Internet, anything that makes it easy to get users online becomes a cog in one giant Internet machine that divines profits from the bits and bytes flowing through the world's networks. If I'm surprised by anything in this deal, it's that Google isn't somehow a sponsor.

Meanwhile, Duracell Powermat gets the best possible endorsement for its technology in front of an audience of likely buyers. An estimate from the American Community Survey finds that 2.6% of the workforce, or 3.2 million people, telecommute from home or places like Starbucks. The ratio goes much higher when you count the self-employed. Call them digital nomads who need the sorts of technology Powermat provides. Starbucks is about to give them unprecedented access, all while granting Google a few more chances to profit.

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Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time and telling your younger self to invest in Google? Or to load up on Starbucks at its IPO, and then just keep holding? We haven't mastered time travel, but there is a way to get out ahead of the next big thing. The secret is to find a small-cap "pure-play," and then watch as the industry -- and your company -- enjoy those same explosive returns. Our team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's ready for stunning profits with the growth of a $14.4 TRILLION industry. You can't travel back in time, but you can set up your future. Click here for the whole story in our eye-opening report.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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