What is Google Nearby?

- Tom Trapp

In short: Google Nearby is a set of services to interact with people, devices and places around you. It uses the following connection methods even in combination beacons.

Nearby Messages - send and reveive

Google Nearby Messages

The Nearby Messages API offers the possibility to share content with the devices close to you. For example you could share a list of great songs with people around you.

This required both persons (sender and receiver) to have the same app installed and having the Nearby functionality running.

Nearby Notifications - experience and explore

Nearby Notifications is a build in feature, shipped with Google Play Services, which allows you to interact with beacons around you. As soon as your screen is turned on, your Android phone scans for beacons in your area.

Because Nearby is a native Operating System Feature on Android there is no need for a specific app. Let’s assume that there is a beacon registered with Nearby in your favorite coffee shop. You are entering the coffee shop and check your phone.

Without the need of having a specific app running you’re Android device is able to receive information from google Nearby via the previously registered Nearby Beacon. Currently information is limited to text, a link to the shops website or a link into the a page of the coffee shops app (if the app is not installed, to the Google Play Store).

Google Nearby Notifications

So Nearby is not the first choice to deliver perfectly designed notification messages that typically consist of text, images, Videos or audio information. In combination with e.g. our Beacon Manager Dashboard and our blingg mobile app or even your own mobile app it’s nevertheless a powerful enabler to release the full potential of the beacon technology within your company or business. Your customers are able to directly download your app with Google Nearby Notifications and you can start distributing visually appealing content delivered by our "Proximity-Manager" portal.


Lets dive a bit deeper into the technical stuff and sum it up

Nearby Messages API

  • Devices have to be connected to the internet, but not on the same network
  • Uses Wifi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy, and near-ultrasonic audio(microphone & speaker)
  • Requires an app, with the functionality build in, to be installed
  • Content to exchange between the phones has to be less than 100 kB (Token)
  • The message is temporarily saved to a server with the token assigned to it
  • Works with Android and iOS

Nearby Connections API

  • encrypted, high-rate and offline peer-to-peer connection between two phones
  • Uses Wifi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy
  • Requires an app, with the functionality build in, to be installed
  • Works only with Android

Nearby Notifications

  • Build into Android with the Google Play Services
  • Device is only scanning a few seconds after the screen has been turned on
  • No push-message sound or other proactive notficiation, just a little item in your notification list
  • HTTPS url or app intent
  • Works with Android(native) or iOS(App)