OpenSignal first released its WiFi Mapper app for the iOS mobile operating system back in May earlier this year. But now, the company is finally making the WiFi Mapper available on the Android platform, too.
Ever since it debuted in the App Store about a couple of months ago, the WiFi Mapper mobile app has already managed to rack up around 155,000 downloads, as explained by Brendan Gill, the chief executive officer of OpenSignal. That 155,000 number only consists of users who are downloading the app for their iOS devices, but now that WiFi Mapper is already available on Google Play, Gill and his team are expecting even more downloads from users of devices that run on Android (which is considered the most widely used mobile operating system in the world right now).
Like OpenSignal’s other projects (involving mobile signal and mobile sensor data maps), the WiFi Mapper app taps on crowdsourcing to create and maintain a mountainous depot of information about where WiFi hotspots can be found, as well as useful data on whether those hotspots are for public use, private, free, or subscription based. Not only that, the WiFi Mapper mobile app also evaluates the quality of the WiFi hotspot -- in terms of network speed and response time, among many other indicators -- and then combines its analysis with Foursquare’s location review information in order to paint a more specific picture of the WiFi hotspot, i.e. the hotspot is in a coffee shop that tends to be crowded in the afternoon.
It certainly helps that OpenSignal had already compiled four years worth of information of WiFi hotspots, courtesy of its vast network of users that currently use the company’s apps. Because of this, the company now has an extensive crowdsourced database consisting of around 500 million WiFi hotspots.
Gill also noted excitedly that about 10 percent of users who have signed up for an account had generously taken some time to manually classify a specific WiFi hotspot as public, private, free, or paid. Users do not need to register in order to use the WiFi Mapper mobile app, but considering 1 out of 10 people who do create an account are pitching in some data is pretty remarkable.
In terms of functionality, Gill hints that the WiFi Mapper mobile app still has plenty of room for improvement. Early users have suggested that they will be allowed to sign in using their Facebook accounts, or maybe have an email sign in option -- thankfully, Gill’s team is already putting their final touches on the latter, which should launch soon.
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