Google Wi-Fi Assistant Hitting Nexus Phones Without Fi

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These days, mobile networks can be crowded and mobile data usually comes at a premium. Even with overages slowly making their way out of the scene, nobody wants to hit their data cap in the middle of the month and be unable to watch YouTube, or have to wait up to a minute just to check their Facebook. Luckily, there are open public Wi-Fi hotspots in a multitude of places. These do have their issues, of course. Namely, they may not be secure, and users don't always think to connect to them before absentmindedly whipping out their phone when they have a dull moment. Google's Wi-Fi Assistant fixes both of these issues, and was available only to Project Fi customers until now. According to a new report, the software is rolling out to non-Fi Nexus owners.

The Wi-Fi assistant is not an app, but rather a small system setting hidden within your Wi-Fi settings. Aside from the setting itself, there is no real indication that you've received the tool, though the timing does coincide quite nicely with the September security update. The tool allows you to automatically connect to open Wi-Fi as you pass by. The catch is that you will only connect to networks that Google's servers have deemed to be secure enough to conduct all the usual smartphone business on.

The setting will show up within your Wi-Fi settings, if you have it. To access it, open up your Wi-Fi settings and click on the gear. If you have an option like the one shown below, saying "Use open Wi-Fi automatically", then a quick flick of that switch is all it will take to get your device popping onto open Wi-Fi networks whenever you happen to be in range. This means you no longer have to check for and connect to Wi-Fi before pulling out your phone, without having to worry about eating into your data allotment. There are a couple of caveats, of course; some networks, such as library and hospital ones, may require an in-browser login in the form of agreeing to their terms of use, and as with anything that would have your Wi-Fi going at all times, expect a small hit in battery life if you have this tool active.

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