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Get a Samsung Nexus S free at Best Buy today

In an uncharacteristic move, Google is offering free Samsung Nexus S smartphones at Best Buy, for one day only.

Google is promoting a free Nexus S

If you act fast, you may be able to get a free Samsung Nexus S smartphone. Google is promoting the deal--today only--from its well-trafficked search page, In order to get the phone with one of three participating carriers--Sprint, T-Mobile, and most recently, AT&T--you'll need to sign up for a new two-year contract.

If you follow links from the Google search page, you'll eventually arrive on Best Buy's Web site, where you can add one of the three Nexus S versions to your check-out basket. You can order it in person at the store as well.

Although Sprint does sell the Nexus S through its retail shops, Best Buy is currently the phone's sole purveyor for the AT&T and T-Mobile versions.

Ever since Google's experiment with the Nexus One crashed and burned, the company hasn't been seen taking many sales or promotional matters into its own hands, preferring instead to let carriers and phone manufacturers shoulder most of the advertising. Today's flash sale is therefore a rare move on Google's part, and one that the company may bank on in two ways. Boosting Nexus S sales doesn't only work toward increasing the circulation of Google's latest flagship device among AT&T and T-Mobile customers, it could also help get the only handset also compatible with the NFC-capable Google Wallet software into more hands.

For Best Buy's part, the electronics super store has been taking a more assertive role wooing cell phone consumers to buy phones and sign up for plans in its aisles rather than in carrier retail stores. To that aim, it offers exclusive products like Google's Nexus S for some carriers, and promises instant rebates rather than rebates you have to send in before receiving a check in the mail.

Google is promoting a free Nexus S
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET