Google's new Nearby feature could change the way we view our surroundings. Nearby is rolling as part of the new upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on any Android smartphone running Android 4.4, KitKat, or higher. Other select Google devices, such as Google Cast and Android Wear watches, will also allow you to experience Nearby via your notifications.
Many of the over one million apps in the Play Store are geared toward specific areas of interest or designed for certain situations. Rather than looking through the entire Play Store – which could take hours – why not have Google recommend specific apps based on your location… in other words, an app that one could benefit from places you are ‘Nearby?’ For instance, let’s say you were in a museum, Nearby may recommend an audio app or more in-depth information about what you are looking at in the museum. Walking through the National Gallery of Art, you could get the inside scoop on the artist and the history of each painting.
The ability to have the right app at the right time can make a world of difference in your enjoyment or experience – but knowing if an app exists or trying to find one can be a real hassle. Nearby takes the burden off you by assisting you will an app selection that may be right for you. Several examples that Google gives – say you are at a CVS Pharmacy, an app that allows you to print photos directly from your phone could come in handy. Waiting for a plane – how about a United Airlines app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate to board your flight. You can skip the custom’s line at select airports with Mobile Passport. How about exploring historical landmarks while at the University of Notre Dame?
To use Nearby, you must have Bluetooth and Location turned on – that allows your device to receive notifications if a nearby app or website is available. If you are opted-in to the service, just tap on the notification to go directly to that website where you can then take advantage of its help. If the popup notification does not interest you, just swipe it away and be done with the experience. Developers are encouraged to go to the developer blog where they can learn about setting up their own beacons to work with Nearby. These beacons send out the signal to your device as you walk by – your Bluetooth will pick up the signal and generate your notification.