Google’s Nearby API allows your apps to share data with anyone simply by being near them


Google Play Services

Google today announced that their Nearby API is being opened up to third-party developers. If you don’t know, this API is what enables Google to use features like Chromecast’s Guest Mode or Google Play Games’ Nearby Players without having to fool around with connection settings and whatnot.

Nearby works by using a combination of Bluetooth, WiFi and inaudible noise to make two devices discoverable to each other without having to do any leg work. The connection is made automatically, and bam — whatever it is you’re sharing or doing can happen without any further input. The user doesn’t even need to use a Google account, and it even works between both iOS and Android.

Some developer partners have already used Nearby to implement cool features, such as sharing tracklists to people in popular DJ app Edjing, or discovering the podcasts people near you listen to with Pocket Casts. And thanks to the API launching in Google Play Services 7.8, you’ll be able to use it for what you will in your own app.

trello share board nearby

With this release comes the revelation of Eddystone, a new open source standard for Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. The goal of Eddystone is to equip developers with a secure and easy platform for delivering content to users based on their precise location. It enables proximity-based data sharing without the need for either the user or the developer to know anything about each other.

The standard encapsulates much of what Google has worked on with the Physical Web, only it extends beyond the rough sketch that was laid out late last year. It’ll interface with the aforementioned Nearby APIs, too, so there’s already a working infrastructure in place for you to take advantage.

google eddystone beacons

In fact, Google is already using the technology in practical use cases, such as real-time transit notifications for Portland commuters, and they expect more functionality — like showing menu items on Google Now when you step inside a restaurant — to arrive shortly.

Existing BLE beacons can support Eddystone with a simple firmware update so if you have one be sure to ping your manufacturer to see about their plans for supporting it. Otherwise, feel free to grab some of the early Eddystone and Physical Web-compliant beacons Google’s partners have introduced today, and be sure to head right here to read up on everything it enables. Exciting times are ahead for the Internet of Things, folks.

[via Google]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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