Facebook recently announced that it is expanding it’s Find Wi-Fi feature worldwide. The feature was available last year on iOS and in selected countries as a test to see whether it would be useful and if people would respond well. Given how that it’s now available globally, something did go right with the test phase. So how does it work.
Find Wi-Fi is available within your Facebook application. To access it, make sure you’ve got an up-to date version of the application. Login, and locate the menu where you usually get access to your pages, groups and settings. There you will see a section titled “App” as you scroll, click the “see more” area and you should see all the apps. Among that list will be “Find Wi-Fi”.
Now for it to work when you open it, you need to give it permission to access your location. At least it asks you unlike Snap Chat’s Snap map feature which just came in the background and just accessed the location of the user, even though they didn’t even know the feature was there. Talk about privacy violation.
Anyways, after you give it the access, it will then be able to get your location and show you nearby Wi-Fi hot-spots. The app itself doesn’t actually scan for Free Wi-Fi around you, however, it uses the data on Facebook to show you the information. Facebook pages have this option for businesses to add information on whether they have free Wi-Fi and the details.
So the Find Wi-Fi app actually searches all the Facebook pages within a certain area that you’re viewing on the map which it shows you. After searching, it will then display pins with the location of businesses that have pages which say they have free Wi-Fi. Even-though I initially thought that this feature was useless because it doesn’t actually scan for Wi-Fi, it is not Facebook’s fault that our country is not as documented online.
If every business would have a Facebook page with the appropriate information for Facebook Wi-Fi then Find Wi-Fi will be very useful to many people that want to access Wi-Fi on the go. So why would a business decide to give free Wi-Fi, well I think it is cheap marketing really. Considering that if a business already has Wi-Fi and they are on an unlimited package, then they can just get people to come to their location and utilize what they probably would have underutilized e.g restaurants.
By virtue of being there, the brand of that company will now be known by this person and they just might end up buying a coffee or a drink while they use the Wi-Fi. As someone, who has recently had a shift in schedule, I have found myself moving around town more and sometimes just stopping at a certain area where there’s free Wi-Fi like Zolspot or Open Access. It helps me keep updated without having to buy airtime when I know I’ll be offline soon because I have other engagements.
Hopefully, as time goes on, more free Wi-Fi hot-spots will be shown on the app or maybe someone can make one to show where all Zolspot, Econet, TelOne Wi-Fi hot-spots etc are at.