Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: 4sqwifi

Screenshot of the 4sqwifi app on iOSImagine you’re out and about and you need to find somewhere with a free Wifi hotspot. Perhaps you need to send an email on your laptop, or you’ve got precious little remaining of your data allowance on your smartphone. But where can you get Wifi?

Enter 4sqwifi. Using data from Foursquare, this app will list nearby places that offer Wifi. Results are shown either as a list (as shown in the screenshot), or on a map. Tapping a location will show a map, along with any passwords that you might need. And there are buttons to check-in on Foursquare, or view the location in Foursquare’s own app.

Unfortunately 4sqwifi is limited to only showing places where Foursquare users have added a tip with information about Wifi – therefore, it’s not a complete list. As you can see from the screenshot the app doesn’t think there are any places which offer free wifi within 700 metres of me, which I know to be wrong, but other Foursquare users have not yet left a tip saying so. As such, 4sqwifi will probably point you towards the more popular places where there are plenty of tips.

However, the app does allow you to add places with Wifi, if they’re not listed. Click the ‘plus’ button, and you can enter the name of the place – it’ll then search Foursquare’s venue database and if there’s a match it’ll let you enter the details. These will then be saved as a tip on Foursquare, and you have the option of tweeting about it.

The app is reasonably straightforward to use. It hasn’t been updated for some time, however, and hasn’t been designed for the iPhone 5 screen. You will also need to sign in to Foursquare to use it – there’s no way to use the app without an account.

Brits may find that using 4sqwifi in tandem with WiFi FastConnecter Hotspot Locator will give them the best chance of finding a wifi hotspot, as it lists all of those provided by The Cloud, many of which are free.

4Sqwifi is free from the App Store. Android users may wish to try the similar VenueSpot app, which works in the same way but doesn’t require a Foursquare account.

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