Is Facebook doing a Google? Earlier this year, Google announced its plans to launch its own fibre-optic internet service in the US. Now it looks like Facebook’s getting in on the action too. Well, sort of. Question is, how much are you willing to bend to get free WiFi?

Facebook is set to trial a free WiFi service in partnership with the local businesses in California that will let customers connect just as soon as they’ve jumped through a few corporate hoops.

Customers will have to check in to the business in question, and then agree to hand over a few choice location details. CNET reports: “When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page. Some stores may also offer deals or specials when you check in.”

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All the boxes ticked? Surf away. The only downside from a consumer point of view is that the info you’ll have given away will go towards tailoring the ads you come across online. This isn’t really a huge issue, but it’s interesting to see the lengths that Facebook’s willing to go to to connect the right ads to the right users.

At the moment this scheme is a US-only deal, and concentrated in the area around Facebook’s HQ. It’ll be interesting to see how successful it is, and if Facebook deems it a worthy expenditure. If free WiFi comes to the UK, it’ll probably upset the likes of The Cloud and BT.

  • PaulM

    There is already free wifi in the UK. O2 Wifi is free for everyone. So is Virgin Media wifi on the tube (for the moment).

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