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bfonics google nearby

bfonics releases a firsthand report on Google Nearby and its implications on beacons


Mr. Binoy Mathew, CTO bfonics, gives his point of view on Google Nearby and its vast implications on beacon technology. He reiterates that Google Nearby is going to bring about a change in the way we apply proximity technology. Here is an abstract of his views on the new technology.

With the introduction of Google Nearby, the tech giant has come up with a new method for Smartphone users to communicate and discover each other. This technology makes use of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-ultrasonic audio to establish proximity for communication. The new API, Google Nearby enables users to establish communication across iOS and Android platforms.

The access to this technology has been provided to the developers with the recent release of Google Play Services 7.8. Google has integrated Nearby technology into its home made services such as Nearby Players in the Google Play Games, Chromecast Guest Mode and in the Google Tone. In addition to this, certain third party developers are also making use of this technology.


Google Nearby


The three main APIs involved with the Nearby technology are:

  • Nearby Messages
  • Nearby Connections
  • Nearby Notifications


Nearby Messages:

With the aid of Nearby Messages, you can simply publish as well as subscribe to techniques which depend on proximity. The application helps to publish a payload which could be easily collected by the subscribers in a defined proximity. You will be able to develop a range of user experiences to create real-time connections among the nearby devices, share messages and also gather beacon messages by making use of this platform.

Nearby messaging allows real time instant messaging between multiple devices which are connected to the internet, even if they are not on the same network. However users should be cautious while using this messaging system for sensitive communication as they are not encrypted.


Nearby Connections:

On the other hand, Nearby Connections let your application to find other devices which are linked with a local network, establish connections and even exchange messages in real-time easily. Nearby Connections will help you to build multi-screen as well as multiplayer experiences.


Nearby Notifications:

Apart from this, Nearby Notifications assist the users to explore new ways to carry out actions through their Android phones by coming up with notifications which are location centric for websites as well as apps. From the developer’s point of view, user can associate their website or app with a Wi-Fi beacon, BLE beacon or a BLE-capable smart device, which helps connect the users in proximity to the beacon or device to receive notifications.

From kitKat 4.4 to higher, all Android devices are well compatible with the Google Nearby technology. You can start using this technology in your device in the very near future once you have Bluetooth and Location services activated.

Google Nearby – How it Works?


Google Nearby is a technology which works based on a set of APIs that helps the developers to deploy in their apps. From the user end point, all you have to do is to just install and let the application do the work of implementing Nearby.  Virtually, there are no such special settings which you need to play around with, either. This is an application which is seen in almost all the recent Android devices through Google Play Services, which in turn is being updated in the background periodically.

As mentioned earlier, the technology makes use of three different signals such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and audio for finding out the connection between two devices which are close enough to pair between each other. The Wi-Fi component does the job of comparing list of those Wi-Fi access points which are visible to each device, rather than connecting two devices over Wi-Fi directly. If both devices come under the same access point, there is high chance that they are close enough in the real world.  However, Bluetooth makes use of a special token for transmission which could be visible to other devices with Nearby.

Last, but not the least, the most interesting part is its audio component. Smart devices using Nearby, send out ultrasonic sound which cannot be detected by human ears, but perceived on the microphone of tablets and other smart devices. Simply to say that if two smart devices are able to “hear

Anupama Pradeep
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