Starbucks adds double-shot of Internet to cafe life

Starbucks has teamed up with Internet pioneer Yahoo! to begin serving up online news and digital downloads along with coffee at its US cafes.

Starbucks Digital Network lets cafe dwellers use smartphones, laptop computers or tablet devices to tap into a custom online community accessible courtesy of free wireless Internet in the chain's coffee shops.

The service is touted as the first in-shop network of its kind and comes as Yahoo! maneuvers to remain a key player in the Internet world after letting Microsoft take over handling of search queries at its websites.

Yahoo! built and manages the Starbucks network, with editors selecting content provided at a half dozen channels including news, business, wellness, and, of course, deals and happenings at Starbucks.

"Yahoo!'s vision is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences where ever they may be," said Yahoo! executive vice president Elisa Steele.

People will be able to buy music from Apple's online iTunes shop or link to social networking service Facebook and microblogging platform Twitter from the Starbucks network.

Starbucks marked the Wednesday launch of the network with a week-long offer of free songs from the band "Fistful of Mercy" and glimpses at a new film "Waiting for Superman" and an upcoming novel by Anita Shreve.

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