Facebook offers 'free' Wi-Fi in exchange for check-ins

Hotels and other businesses will require users to check in at their Facebook Pages to get free Wi-Fi

A check-in page for Facebook Wi-Fi

A check-in page for Facebook Wi-Fi

More hotels, shops and other businesses will soon be offering free Wi-Fi to customers if they agree in return to "check-in" at the business from their Facebook account.

It's the result of a partnership between Facebook and Cisco Systems that's been in pilot since last year and is now being rolled out more broadly, the companies said Wednesday.

To take part, businesses must first load a piece of Facebook software onto their Cisco router. When a customer opens a Web browser they're taken to a page that asks them to "check in" using their Facebook login. In return they get access to the Wi-Fi.

Businesses can benefit because the check-ins give them more exposure on Facebook. The social network will also give them information about the people who check in, like their age, sex and location, which the businesses can use for marketing programs. Facebook says it will provide "aggregated, anonymous" data, meaning it won't be linked to individuals.

"Businesses can analyze this data to better understand their customer's preferences and deliver targeted promotions," Facebook said, "ultimately improving their advertising and marketing campaigns."

Facebook benefits, too, because it encourages businesses to set up Facebook Pages and possibly run more ads on Facebook. And it helps Facebook keep the attention of its users, who can also get free Internet access from Google at places like Starbucks.

The offer extends a pilot that saw about 1,000 Wi-Fi deployments at small and medium-sized businesses in 50 countries. The program announced Wednesday is designed to target larger companies, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Some of the world's best-known businesses are piloting the service, according to Cisco, though it didn't name many. It said the restaurant chain Bonefish Grill is testing the service at two restaurants in the U.S.

The program could also help businesses target their advertising campaigns for customers checking in on mobile devices. Mobile is an important channel because more than 50 percent of consumers use mobile phones while shopping in a store, Cisco said.

If people don't want to sign in using Facebook, they'll still be able to access the Wi-Fi by entering a code, Facebook said, though presumably it will be up to the business whether they provide them with it.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleciscosocial networkinginternetsocial mediaFacebookstarbucks

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?