When your friends come over, and they bring their smartphone or tablet, do you find yourself digging out your Wi-Fi password so they can join your network? Do you even know your Wi-Fi password, or where to find it? For many people, the answer is no, and logging into your router to find or change your password is a fairly big hassle.
That's where Instabridge is looking to make life easier, by giving users the ability to easily and quickly share their Wi-Fi connections with all of their friends. Their app is exclusive to Android devices, and works by combining your Facebook friends with the app, and then giving your friends the option to connect to whatever Wi-Fi you are connected to at the moment. You have the choice of whether or not you allow them to connect to your network, and you can set the app to accept certain friends in advance. Instabridge seems to have covered all possibilities in an effort to give people more access to hotspots around the world.
At the cafe and connected to their Wi-Fi? If your friends are with you, and already setup to use whatever Wi-Fi you are, then they will automatically connect to the same network without having to select it or go through a login process. The idea is that you and your friends can move from location to location and automatically connect to whatever network is available, as long as one of you has connected to it before. It's a fantastic idea, although not 100-percent original, but the security concerns are glaring.
The developers seem confident that you only put people you trust in your Facebook friends list, and that the ability to choose who does and does not get access to your networks is enough to provide a blanket of security. However, you don't necessarily know everyone your friends see on a regular basis, and perhaps they have their networks shared with someone you don't particularly care for, and now that person also has access to your Wi-Fi network without ever needing a password. A worldwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots would be great, but not everyone is comfortable sharing their home or business connection with friends of friends.
We're not just here to talk about the pro's and con's of Instabridge, there was also a big announcement about the Swedish startup today regarding their new partnership with Samsung. Instabridge is celebrating a launch party this evening in Stockholm, and Samsung will be sponsoring the event to highlight their business relationship with the company. As part of their agreement, Samsung is getting an exclusive version of the software for upcoming and existing NFC enabled devices like the Galaxy S3 LTE and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
Regular users will need to use their Facebook account to utilize the service, but Samsung Mobile users will be able to use NFC to transfer Wi-Fi connection information. Although there is no official word yet from Samsung or Instabridge, it is expected that they will expand the service to include other social networks such as Google+ and Twitter. The service has been in closed beta since August 2012, and is not yet available in many countries, including the US. The developer's website offers a chance to enter your e-mail for information on getting the app early as it launches in new countries, but a specific list of upcoming launches is not available.
Niklas Agevik, CEO of Instabridge, comments:
"Most Wi-Fi access is now from smartphones but most Wi-Fi solutions are still laptop centric. We radically simplify access to Wi-Fi networks by building a network based on trust. Users will find themselves using Wi-Fi in new situations, lowering their mobile data usage, increasing battery life and increasing data rates."
"Samsung is a highly innovative company and the world's leading smartphone manufacturer. Working with them will allow us to further develop our platform and make it accessible to even more consumers".
Patrik Andersson, Samsung Nordic's sales and marketing manager for corporate solutions, comments:
"It's inspiring to partner with such a forward-thinking company as Instabridge. The solution they have developed finds a new way of addressing the limitations and challenges for Wi-Fi access. Instabridge makes it significantly easier to use Wi-Fi, and connecting to your friends' Wi-Fi by just tapping your phone against an NFC sticker or performing a simple one-click move is a fantastic user experience".
The hassle of passwords is a concern for many people, but the security issues may be a bigger hindrance than Instabridge or Samsung are willing to admit. Until the app is available in more countries and given a full release it will be difficult to determine the impact this type of software will have on the world of Wi-Fi hotspots.
Source: Instabridge Press Release