Would You Trade Your Location Information For Free Wi-Fi From Facebook?

By David Cohen 

Would you trade information on your location in exchange for free Wi-Fi access? Facebook is betting that the answer is yes.

Wired reports that Facebook expanded a test of what it refers to as Facebook Wi-Fi from its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., to cafes in nearby Palo Alto and San Francisco, and even to a line of Cisco Systems routers.

Facebook users who check in at locations offering Facebook Wi-Fi will be granted free access in exchange for doing so, according to Wired, which added that the initiative began at Facebook headquarters in May 2012, spreading to local businesses in Menlo Park last November, and to some Philz Coffee San Francisco locations a few months later.

On the hardware front, Cisco announced the integration of Facebook Wi-Fi as an optional service for its Meraki line of routers last month, Wired reported, adding that the social network is in talks with other router manufacturers.

Ryan Tate of Wired even added another component to the speculation about the new product Facebook will announce Thursday, writing:

Where Facebook Wi-Fi goes from there remains to be seen. It was impossible not to wonder if a major expansion might be in store last week, when Facebook sent out java-stained invitations to the press, inviting reporters to “Join us for coffee and learn about a new product … a small team has been working on.”

The Facebook Wi-Fi initiative could also be part of Facebook’s efforts to gather as much local information as possible for its Graph Search and its advertising offerings.

Readers: Would you be willing to trade your location information to Facebook in exchange for free Wi-Fi?