Google launching Android rival to Apple’s iBeacon technology

9 Jun 2014

Google is preparing to launch a new service similar to Apple’s iBeacons called Nearby that marks the start of its ‘internet of things foray’ in a big way, enabling people to interact with nearby people, places and things.

As Google’s annual technology shindig I/O rumbles into focus it is understood that Nearby will come with an upcoming Google Play Services update.

According to Android Police the technology effectively allows devices to know with precision when they are near each other by switching on all the senses on an Android smartphone, including Mic, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other features.

The move effectively opens Google up to the ‘internet of things’ by enabling devices to interact with each other, and could be Google’s antidote to the recent software advances by Apple in the form of HealthKit and HomeKit with iOS 8 which also signal the start of Apple’s ‘internet of things drive.’

Apple’s rival technology, iBeacon, works on Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as Bluetooth Smart, and enables small wireless location-aware sensor beacons to pinpoint users’ location in a store and send notifications of items nearby that are on sale, for example, as the user passes them by.

Mobile shopping image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years