Posted by Akshay Kannan, Product Manager
Today we're launching Nearby on Android, a new surface for users to discover and interact with the things around them. This extends the Nearby APIs we launched last year, which make it easy to discover and communicate with other nearby devices and beacons. Earlier this year, we also started experimenting with Physical Web beacons in Chrome for Android. With Nearby, we’re taking this a step further.
Imagine pulling up a barcode scanner when you’re at the store, or discovering an audio tour while you’re exploring a museum–these are the sorts of experiences that Nearby can enable. To make this possible, we're allowing developers to associate their mobile app or a website with a beacon.
A number of developers have already been building compelling proximity-based experiences, using beacons and Nearby:
- The Broad Museum works with Area360 and Sensoro to offer in-app audio tours to visitors as they enjoy museum exhibits.
- United Airlines works with Radius Networks to help users more easily watch free in-flight movies & TV in the app by installing the app before boarding.
- The University of Notre Dame works with Radius Networks to delight campus visitors with virtual tours of campus and important local sites.
- CVSworks with Radius Networks to help in-store customers order their photos in minutes, and print at the kiosk
- Airside’s Mobile Passport works with Bluvision to help airport travelers skip the US Customs line by pre-registering and submitting their declaration form online via their mobile phone.
Getting started is simple. First, get some Eddystone Beacons- you can order these from any one of our Eddystone-certified manufacturers. Android devices and and other BLE-equipped smart devices can also be configured to broadcast in the Eddystone Format.
Second, configure your beacon to point to your desired experience. This can be a mobile web page using the Physical Web, or you can link directly to an experience in your app. For users who don’t have your app, you can either provide a mobile web fallback or request a direct app install.
Nearby has started rolling out to users as part of the upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on Android devices running 4.4 (KitKat) and above. Check out our developer documentation to get started. To learn more about Nearby Notifications in Android, also check out our I/O 2016 session, starting at 17:10.