For the first time in a long time, I have spent more time using just one device, the Huawei Mate 9. That time is 8 months. As such, the Mate 9 does not just know me and my device usage habits, it knows everywhere I go, every wireless network I connect to. I was in at Frankfurt Airport last April and it just auto-connected to the airport Wi-Fi without even notifying me or seeking my indulgence. Of course, the Mate 9 has this great feature where it will automatically turn on Wi-Fi and connect to any network it has been connected to before when one is in that network’s vicinity.
In Nairobi and Mombasa, the two cities where I spend most of my time, the phone does the same thing. When I am out and about in town, it will take turns switching from one restaurant or coffee outlet’s Wi-Fi to another, never mind that I won’t pop into any of them. That’s because I’ve been to those places before and connected to their network.
Facebook wants to do the same thing. Okay, not exactly the same thing but something close. Instead of hijacking your device and automatically connecting to familiar networks, Facebook will simply let you know that there are some available wireless hotspots your Android device could connect to in the vicinity. Simple as that.
Find Wi-Fi helps you locate available Wi-Fi hot spots nearby that businesses have shared with Facebook from their Page.
The feature was announced yesterday and quite a number of my social media followers reported seeing it. It only showed up on my phone this morning (Saturday). I am a beta tester of the Facebook app but I’ve never had this feature before despite Facebook having commenced tests last November with users in select foreign countries. It is only now that the feature is available to mobile users worldwide. Still, some friends of mine who are not even users of the beta app had this feature first. I have no idea how Facebook works.
I was able to access Facebook’s Wi-Fi finder feature from the notification Facebook sent my way but according to Facebook’s statement announcing the global rollout of the feature, “To find Wi-Fi hotspots, open your Facebook app, click on the More tab and then Find Wi-Fi.”
This feature should come in handy to anyone visiting a new town/city more so in foreign countries where one has little choice but to stick to free Wi-Fi whenever possible instead of paying punitive roaming data fees.