Google recently introduced a new feature into Android 8.1 Oreo that displays how good a public Wi-Fi network is before you connect to it. Using just simple terms like Slow, OK, Fast, and Very Fast, it will let you quickly gauge whether a network is worth connecting to, or if you’re better off just sticking with mobile data.
How Does Google Know the Quality of a Network?
Android is relying on the Usage & Diagnostics sharing feature to crowdsource this data. When you connect your phone to an open network, say at Starbucks for example, the speed of this network (along with other information) is shared with Google. On a long enough timeline, as people continue to connect to the network and the information is shared with Google, a baseline for speed and reliability is established.
Once that baseline is clear, the Network Ratings feature is able to reliably tell you how good a network is before you connect to it…as long as its popular enough. Your local mom and pop coffee shop might not get a rating, or may take longer, if it’s less trafficked than the local Starbucks.
So, Google Is Collecting Data From Me? I Don’t Like That!
In a world where personal information being shared is a constant concern for many, you’d be remiss to not at least wonder how secure this feature is—especially on the sharing end. The short…
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