Facebook (FB) is hooking businesses near its Menlo Park, California headquarters with routers to test a free Wi-Fi program, according to the Los Angeles Times. To access the free Wi-Fi, users simply have to use the social network’s “Check-in” feature. Once that’s done, they will be brought to the business’ Facebook page and then allowed onto the network. The LATimes reports that the businesses have to pay for the Internet service on their own, but Facebook is giving out the routers for free. Facebook’s experiment is intriguing because it’s a very smart way to lure people over to Facebook pages to see promotions and most importantly, advertisements. It also gets more people into physical stores. It isn’t Google Fiber, but if more stores start offering free Facebook Wi-Fi, their foot traffic could see an uptick.
And of course, for safety purposes, if you’re uncomfortable broadcasting your location, you can change the privacy setting so that only you can see places you’ve checked in or you can just ask participating retailers for the password to the Facebook Wi-Fi. The LATimes says it’s only a pilot program and might never see widespread implementation. We’ve got our fingers crossed that it’ll reach more businesses.