Facebook Free 'Find Wi-Fi' Tool Is Now Being Tested On iOS

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Facebook may soon help you find free Wi-Fi spots nearby. Find out more about the Wi-Fi hotspot listing experiment, here. Getty Images

Facebook may soon help you find free Wi-Fi spots nearby. Find out more about the Wi-Fi listing tool, here.

In an effort to be all things to all men, Facebook is reportedly testing a new feature that would help users find free Wi-Fi hotspots near them.

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Discovered by staff at TheNextWeb, Facebook has confirmed it is testing a new Wi-Fi hotspot-finding feature for its mobile app. Photo: TheNextWeb

The feature, which was first discovered by Matt Navarra of TheNextWeb, appeared on the iOS version of the Facebook app under the “More” section. To see if you have the Wi-Fi finding feature, scroll through your menu options and look for an item titled “Find Wi-Fi.” Tap on the option and the app will detect nearby places that offer free Wi-Fi hotspots.  You’ll then be taken to a map of nearby location offering hotspots, along with the distance of the location and navigation options for reaching the access point.

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Facebook's Wi-Fi finding experiment not only finds locations near you with feee hotspots, it also shows you distance and directions to the location. Photo: VentureBeat

Soon after the feature was discovered, VentureBeat contacted a Facebook spokesperson that confirmed the company was testing a new Wi-Fi finding feature.

“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat.

While it’s unclear how Facebook is compiling their Wi-Fi hotspot data, TheNextWeb speculates that the database may be pulling information from Facebook pages. A short time ago, Facebook asked business offering free Wi-Fi hotspots to list those hotspots as the business’ physical location on Pages.

Another possibility is that Facebook’s free Wi-Fi finding tool could be part of an effort to extend Facebook’s free Wi-Fi experiment. Earlier this month, WIRED reported that Facebook had been testing a new system to get more users to “check-in” on the massive social media platform.

Despite its widespread use, Facebook has had difficulty getting users to check-in on its app versus competitors like Foursquare. In an effort to increase check-ins, Facebook began running an experiment where it provided local businesses with free Wi-Fi routers. These businesses could then offer customers free wireless Internet access as long as they check-in on Facebook from the business’ location.

Currently Facebook’s Wi-Fi finding tool is only showing up on iOS devices and only a small number of users have reported access to the feature. It is unclear if Facebook will be testing the feature on Android devices as well. As more is learned about Facebook’s Wi-Fi finding experiment, we’ll be sure to update this post. 

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