In case Google’s ambitious Nearby feature slipped you by, it’s a slick proximity-based communication system meant to ping us relevant (and hopefully useful) information from our surroundings. Google has long worked with developers to get these services in place, which involve tie-ins between a company’s localized “beacons” – in places like stores, museums, and airports – with their app or website. It’s achieved via several communication methods in your mobile device, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and the microphone/speaker (inaudible sound exchange).
The technology also allows Nearby-enabled devices to connect to each other, to exchange data/messages or have real-time interactions, like multiplayer gaming. It’s another level of connection with the world around us.
Unfortunately, the feature hasn’t been the easiest to access, involving some digging to get to. But that looks to be addressed in an upcoming Google Play Services v 9.6 update, as Nearby has been spotted lurking around Android’s Quick Settings. It’s not enabled by default; you’ll have to get into the Quick Settings edit mode and add the Nearby tile. However, this also means that you’ll have to be running Android 7.0 Nougat, because the Quick Settings customizer is a new feature in it.
Using the Awareness API in your Android app
Google Play Service v9.6 hasn’t fully rolled out yet, but it probably won’t be long before you can enjoy this new functionality. Are those who have been using Nearby enjoying it? Have you seen much action through it?