Facebook is currently testing a new project that would give shoppers free wireless Internet access. If successful, it might not be long before Facebook Wi-Fi comes to a store near you.
Los Angeles Times reported that a Facebook spokesperson told the paper the free Wi-Fi test is being run in retail stores and coffee shops in Menlo Park, where the social network giant is based.
According to Inside Facebook, developer Tom Waddington noticed the new service, which is currently being called "Facebook Wi-Fi". Waddington was the first person to notice Facebook's "want" button was being designed.
Inside Facebook reports:
Developer Tom Waddington, who also discovered Facebook testing the Want button plugin and possibly promoted messages, first tipped us off to this when he found a new entry called “social wifi” in the “Like sources” section of the Insights API. The explanation for the entry is “People who liked your page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi.
Facebook confirmed the new project in a statement to Inside Facebook that indicated the social network is "currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook."
Wireless hotspot device
How Facebook's Wi-Fi service works is that the social network is providing businesses with the router and the companies pay for the Internet service. Members that use Facebook's "Check In" are redirected to the business' Facebook page (users do have the option to set the Check In to "only me" if they do not want their location publicly disclosed).
Stores may offer the individual a deal or special, Facebook told CNET. After visiting the business' Facebook page, users can then access the Internet.
Additionally, people that do not want to check in and be tracked, or those who do not have a Facebook account, can ask the business for a special passcode to still access the Web.
This concept was created at one of Facebook's hackathon events.
This project comes at a time when Facebook stock continues to struggle. Since the company went public in May 2012, the stock has not had a strong performance. Yesterday, the stock's worth still hovered around $20 as the market closed.
Reuters reported, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, has already sold millions of dollars of stock and Forbes reported she continues to sell.
Next week will be telling as the next IPO lockup period expires on Nov. 14, many additional shareholders will be permitted to sell stock, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg. However, Zuckerberg has said he won't sell any of his shares before Sept. 2013.