So Google has started an initiative that angles to make your devices provide you with information that’s more relevant based on your current location. Although GPS is nice and all, the search giant has found that low-power Bluetooth ‘beacons’ are far more effective at this task. This project, called “Nearby,” involved Google cooperating with partners to strategically place a vast number of these beacons at stores, airports, and museums. In theory, they should be able to give your smartphone more contextual information about your environment and let you do a number additional activities on the fly, including:
- Print photos directly from your phone at CVS Pharmacy.
- Explore historical landmarks at the University of Notre Dame.
- Download the audio tour when you’re at The Broad in LA.
- Skip the customs line at select airports with Mobile Passport.
- Download the United Airlines app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate, before you board your flight.
- See also: How to stop your Android from accessing your location
Nearby is compatible with all Android devices running KitKat 4.4 and newer, and it will be part of a Google Play Services update coming soon. You can expect it to roll out to your device in the very near future, but you’ll have to have Bluetooth and Location services activated to be able to take advantage of these utilities. Every time you encounter a beacon, you’ll be asked whether or not you would like to see notifications regarding its respective features. If you decline, then you won’t be bothered by that beacon in the future unless you re-enable it in the settings. On the advertising side of things, this feature is useful to proprietors as it allows them to push out notifications to nearby shoppers.
What do you think of Google Nearby? A helpful addition to your device’s capabilities or an unnecessary intrusion on your privacy? Let us know in the comments below!