Google last week took the wraps off the next version of its mobile operating system Android, and the L release packs a bunch of useful features to make your life easier. One of these nifty new tools is secure Wi-Fi sharing, which lets you give visitors access to your home hotspot by tapping an NFC (Near Field Communication) tag -- without sharing your Wi-Fi password.
Android L will be released to the public this fall and lets you write your Wi-Fi password to an NFC tag if your phone is NFC-compatible. Most leading Android handsets, such as Google's own Nexus 5, Samsung's Galaxy S4 and S5, HTC's One M7 and M8 and LG's G2 and G3 are NFC-ready. If your guest also owns one of these devices, he or she can just tap the tag at your house to get access to your Wi-Fi network.
For visitors who own iPhones, you'll still have to manually enter your password into their phones, or tell them what the password is, to use your network.
The new Android OS also lets you respond to messages or invitations across your devices. If you have a compatible device within range, such as an Android Wear smartwatch or another Bluetooth-connected accessory, Android L will recognize the phone is in your possession and let you unlock the phone without having to enter a password.
The Wi-Fi sharing feature isn't completely new in the mobile OS world. Windows Phone 8.1 also lets you keep your passwords to yourself, but in a more elegant manner. You get to whitelist specific Outlook, Skype or Facebook contacts and just enable Share Wi-Fi Networks to allow those friends to use your hotspots.