Search on Bing and get free Wi-Fi

Just a second, didn't Google used to be the king of free? Microsoft is so keen to migrate mobile surfers to its 'decision engine' that it's bribing th

A partnership with wireless advertising specialist JiWire means that travellers using 'premium hotspots' in thousands of airports and fancy hotels across America can earn a free Wi-Fi session just by completing a search on Bing.

A single search gives at least 20 minutes' access, with some providers giving up to a couple of hours. No registration is required.

The campaign, which started in September, is based on the idea that once people experience Bing they will come back and use the engine again. Initial results at the free hotspots suggest that Microsoft might be on to something, with many users returning for multiple Bing searches - even if it didn't top up their surfing time.

Update: Looks like Google didn't like being out-nothinged. Mountain View is now offering free Wi-Fi for all at 47 airports across the US and on every Virgin America flight until the middle of January - no search required.

Stuff has done the maths and it works out that if you're going to spend more than 65 hours online in an airport, it's worth flying from London to New York to do it. Sweet.