Google is now rolling out a new feature which will let Android device owners who are connecting to public Wi-Fi spots see how fast the Wi-Fi connection is, according to new social media posts shared by the company today. This feature is related to Android 8.1 (Oreo) specifically, and therefore device owners will need to be running this version of Android for the feature to work. At present, it is not clear if there are any other requirements or pre-requisites for the feature, or for that matter, how long the rollout process is expected to take. Technically speaking, this feature was first announced back at the start of December, although the availability of the feature did not begin at the same time as initially expected.
Going forward, for those with a compatible smartphone connecting to public Wi-Fi will no longer be as much of a gamble as it was before in terms of the expected speeds. Although the feature does not provide detailed Wi-Fi information, it will provide broad labels which will look to help users identify which Wi-Fi connections are better than others. For example, once the feature is live Wi-Fi connections will be shown along with either a Slow, OK, Fast or Very Fast label attached. Device owners can expect to find these labels positioned directly underneath the public Wi-Fi names prior to connecting. Device owners will also be able to choose whether the labels are shown by enabling/disabling the feature within the Wi-Fi settings menu.
As part of the original announcement, Google further explained these tags will provide the user to with the ability to anticipate what they will be able to do with the Wi-Fi connection based on the label. With Google noting how an "OK" label, for example, should mean a connection is good enough for reading web pages, accessing social media, and streaming music. While Fast and Very Fast labels will suggest better suitability for streaming video. Although those looking to stream "very high-quality videos" will likely be better off connecting to "Very Fast" labelled Wi-Fi spots. An example of how the interface will look and work can be seen below.
Public Wi-Fi can be spotty. For the first time, #AndroidOreo 8.1 lets you take out the guesswork & see the speed of networks before you hit connect. Rolling out now: https://t.co/lSzvCFgNk7 pic.twitter.com/60EmoPxUX4
— Android (@Android) January 22, 2018