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Wi-Fi Mapping And Mobile Social Networking From WeFi

In my quest to find any other news today besides the launch and subsequent activation failure of the iPhone 3G, I came across a press release for a company called WeFi. It offers an interesting take on global Wi-Fi access point mapping as a community and the combined social
In my quest to find any other news today besides the launch and subsequent activation failure of the iPhone 3G, I came across a press release for a company called WeFi. It offers an interesting take on global Wi-Fi access point mapping as a community and the combined social networking that can be utilized from it.It has created an app for Microsoft's Windows Mobile that automatically searches for the best Wi-Fi signal relative to your location, as well as the strongest signal whether its Wi-Fi, 3G, or 2.5G. Basically, it eliminates the tedious task of searching out the right Wi-Fi network, and/or switching back and forth from 3G to Wi-Fi all the time. The app is more or less a way onto consumer's devices to aid the mapping of access points, while providing something useful in return.

The main purpose of WeFi is to collaboratively build and constantly update a central database of worldwide Wi-Fi access points that can then be shared for common social networking activities for anyone participating in the network. Similar to efforts from Navizon and Skyhook Wireless, WeFi looks to be aiming for the social networking benefits of the community rather than simply location-awareness.

For the most part, the only social networking tool it offers is the ability to see where your friends are in real-time -- if they're connected to a previously mapped access point, that is. Beyond that, it offers a chat function as well as photo sharing and other basic tools. It claims to have already mapped more than 1.8 million access points worldwide, but with stiff competition from other location-aware social networking communities, it better find its niche in the industry and offer something unique to its users to set itself apart.

I have to admit, the connection tool it offers would be a nice addition to my smartphone, but I still don't see the need for plotting a global access-point database for anything other than the mobile social networking aspects. Especially since so many other companies and organizations are doing the same thing, and in some cases are much further a long in the creation of their databases. WiGLE, for example, has mapped more than 14.5 million access points worldwide using a community of more than 880 million unique observations since 2001. Why not build on an already extensive and ever-growing database of access points, instead of starting from the ground up?

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