Wireless networking meets social networking in WeFi (free). This useful software does double-duty: It helps you find reliable hot spots and then connect to them, and also helps you connect with your friends, and find new ones. Run the program and it shows nearby hot spots, with details about each such as signal strength and whether the network is encrypted.
You can also have the program send you to a Web page where you can see all the hot spots mapped out. New to this version of WeFi is its ability to show information about each hot spot such as whether it is a school, coffee shop, restaurant, home, and so on. And a new feature allows you to find hot spots not just in your immediate WiFi range, but beyond it as well, by consulting the WeFit database.
To see people who are connected to hot spots near you, click the People tab, and you'll see a list of people nearby who use WeFi. You can then get more information about any of them, and get in touch with them as well. In addition, the software also makes it easy for you to upload information about the hot spots you've found, and add them to the site's maps.
One problem with WeFi is that it's not always highly reliable in geolocation. When I connected to one hot spot, for example, it told me I was about nearly a mile away from where I really was. So don't necessarily trust its expertise at location. Still, despite that shortcoming, it's a useful program given that it's free.
Note that during the installation, it will make We-Fi search your default search engine, make We-Fi Search your default home page, and install a We-Fi toolbar. If you don't want those things done, at the beginning of the installation process, select Custom, and uncheck which of those options you don't want done. In addition, during the next step of the installation, it also installs the shopping software PriceGong, so if you don't want that installed, uncheck the box next to "Install PriceGong."