20. February 2012–
You know how it is – you’ve just moved in to your new Altbau and your Wifi oxygen has been cut off. And internet providers do not conform to the German stereotype of efficiency, believe us, so you may be unconnected for weeks.
So what to do? Trawl for flaky, unsecured networks, pay a premium for hotspot sharing, or simply ask your neighbours nicely if you guys can hook up. But how to find the willing participants?
Mathias Nitzsche’s ingenious service has made sharing Wifi love a breeze. His brainchild wifis.org allows the internetless and network owners to speak to one another via their wireless networks list.
“The idea was born, like many others, out of a need,” he explains. “When I moved into my new apartment, I had no Internet for weeks. We had almost 20 Wifis in my environment, but it was pretty difficult to pinpoint someone who would share with me.”
“So I thought, ‘How can a Wifi name tell you that an owner doesn’t mind being contacted, so I created my little prototype, which grew to a full launch late last year.”
A new social networking?
If you already have a Wifi network, just choose a username that people can reach out to you on (for instance wifis.org/linseyfryatt) and it’ll get published as your network name. Now any Wifi-bereft neighbour can contact you via a web form that will hit you up on your Gmail or Facebook mail.
From there you can decide privately whether you want to donate to help share the cost or whatever arrangement suits you best (perhaps just a nice bottle of wine every now and again).
Nitzsche continues: “We’ve seen it go viral already – because people can see the links on Wifi network lists, they get curious and join in – we’ve even had people just contact one another to say hi.”
Who knows – perhaps Wifis.org could end up having a side-effect of kicking off a whole new localised social networking craze?
Check out Berlin's 10 Best Coworking spaces if you want to get out the house for your Wifi
Image credit: flickr user dana~2