This Android 8.1 trick will help you decide if an open network is worth connecting to
Some of the cool, more subtle features of Android 8.1 are still rolling out weeks after the first significant update to Oreo was released. For instance, today Google announced that Oreo will now display the speed of nearby open Wi-Fi networks to help you decide whether they’re even worth the effort of connecting to. The Wi-Fi settings menu will now display one of the four-speed labels: Very Fast, Fast, OK, or Slow.
The difference between Very Fast and Fast, according to Google, is that you can stream “very high-quality videos” on the former and “most videos” on the latter. Most coffee shop dwellers should be fine with the OK level, as that’s enough for web browsing, social media, and Spotify streaming.
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
Private Wi-Fi networks that require passwords don’t display any speed data since it’s really none of your business and Google can’t randomly test them, but they do continue to indicate signal strength. Google says network administrators can also opt out of Android’s Wi-Fi Assistant showing speed info by using a “canary URL.”
So if you thought Android 8.1 was all about cheeseburger emoji and switching on the Pixel 2’s Visual Core chip, it turns out there’s still more neat stuff in there to discover. Once your device gets Android 8.1, to begin with, anyway. Until then you’ll just have to take a chance like the rest of us.