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Facebook Goes Global with ‘Find Wi-Fi’ Feature

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We are all guilty of looking for Wi-Fi whenever we go out. What is better than Wi-Fi?

It now looks likely that wherever we may roam, Facebook has us covered with ensuring accessibility to Wi-Fi hotspots.

Facebook has recently begun expanding one of their newest features created to assist users in locating accessible Wi-Fi networks. The social network confirmed in a blog post that their “Find Wi-Fi” feature is being rolled out internationally and will be available for iPhone and Android users.

Having tested it in 2016, the feature was found to be beneficial for those who have issues with international roaming, scarce cellular data or living in remote, rural areas. We’ve all been in that situation where finding those sweet free Wi-Fi hotspots is like stumbling upon a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

When the Wi-Fi is free. Source.

Facebook told VentureBeat that the purpose of the feature is,

“To help people stay connected to the friends and experiences they care about, we are rolling out a new feature that surfaces open Wi-Fi networks associated with nearby places.”

“Find Wi-Fi” can be found in the “More” tab on Facebook’s mobile app. You may need to toggle the setting to turn it on, and afterwards it will list available networks in range with an access point. The feature also provides information such as the business, how far it is, and the name of the network. Businesses will have to register their networks onto the app for it to be accessible, so the feature won’t work instantaneously.

How the feature will look like. Source: TechCrunch.

The question now is: why include a Wi-Fi discovery feature? Facebook is surely looking for another method to encourage more usage of their app while users are travelling. It also opens a door for relationships with Australian businesses (particularly small businesses) as it will essentially put them on the map for users to find. However, major retailers and fast food places such as Maccas are absent on the list of suggestions.

The only real issue with the feature is it requires you to enable Facebook access to your GPS location data. Doing this takes a toll on your battery life even when you’re not using the app. The feature also encourages turning on your location history so it can “allow Facebook to build a history of precise locations received through your device.” It may just do that, but it will have access to personal information you keep on your device.

Facebook’s “Find Wi-Fi” feature is promising for those who are happy to give Facebook access to their information in order to find the closest hotspots, but keep in mind it will drain your battery life alongside your social media usage.