OpenSignal helps you find free WiFi hotspots

Crowdsourced wireless coverage startup OpenSignal has launched a new app that shows you all the free WiFi hotspots in your area.

Wifimapper allows the London-based startup is taking its existing data and pushing it into a standalone iPhone app.

OpenSignal’s app tracks users’ mobile phone coverage (strength of signal, etc.) and make that information available to anyone. The crowdsourced data offers an independent view of what the various networks offer.

The company makes money by selling data to mobile networks, as carriers often like to have another view on performance.

OpenSingal also tracks when a user is connected to WiFi, and offers a handful of in-app tools that let you test your speed and see where public WiFi networks are. The company is now looking to engage its global community by asking them to manually “tag” WiFi hotspots as “free.”

Wifimapper includes a large number of locations it believes to be free. Using data from the main OpenSingal app, it has developed an algorithm that guesses if a WiFi connection is likely to be free or not. It does this using data like the number of OpenSignal users who have connected to it, while also matching its data with Foursquare locations.

There are currently two million hotspots globally that are “likely” to offer free WiFi, out of the 500 million total hotspots worldwide. The plan is to improve the recommended (free) hotspot count with users’ help.

You can contribute to the database by flagging whether a hotspot is free or not.

Additionally, using Foursquare data, Wifimapper shows comments from those who have visited the venue, so you can see whether the coffee’s good or if it’s kid-friendly. You can also leave your comments within the Wifimapper app, though you must login with Facebook.

“We are currently leaving [the apps] separate as adding the tagging functionality to OpenSignal would be a lot of work. We definitely haven’t ruled out increased integration in the future though.”

-A OpenSignal spokesperson

Wifimapper is available now for iOS.

Source: VentureBeat


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