Google is apparently set to introduce a new location based feature called “Nearby”, that when turned on would let users interact with other devices, contacts and places around them when they’re close in proximity. The Nearby feature will be part of a new Google Play Service update coming to Android in the future and it doesn’t sound like it’s too far off. The idea behind Nearby is to enhance the way you interact with people, places and things around you in close enough proximity for sharing, connecting, etc. It’s vague, but in the description sent by Google to Android Police about Nearby, they explain that when Nearby is turned on for your account, Google can periodically turn on the mic, WiFi, Bluetooth, and other similar features for all your current and future devices, while also stating that Google+ and other Google services need this access to help you connect, share, and more.
Google also states that turning on Nearby will also turn on location history for your account as well as enable the location reporting feature for your device, which are needed to periodically store location data for use by Nearby and other Google services. Basically, Nearby will allow your device to know exactly when it is near something that you’ve chosen or set it to interact with and respond appropriately and users won’t even need to touch their devices for Nearby to work. At least for the “people” interaction portion of Nearby, think of it like the new feature Facebook will be rolling out that allows friends from your list to know when they are near you so that you might both potentially meet up. That specific new feature of Facebook will allow the user to set parameters of who can see them when they’re in close proximity, and Nearby will allow users to do pretty much the same thing, by setting preferences of what, and who can see and interact with your device on your behalf.
The new feature doesn’t have a confirmed release date just yet, but the possibility that we might see this at the annual developers conference this month is there. It’ll be interesting to see how Nearby works in conjunction with Google Now. Perhaps if you have previously Google searched for movie tickets then walking by a certain theater that could be showing the film you were interested in could spark a reminder from Nearby to buy the tickets.