Google’s new Android location-based services may arrive as “Nearby”


About three months ago, we heard about a change Google was supposedly working on for Google Now, that would allow users to set location-based reminders connected to people: if you wanted to pay back your friend Bob for that $5 he spotted you the other day, your phone could give you a heads-up when it detected that Bob was nearby. So far, though, we haven’t seen that happen, but that doesn’t mean it won’t – in fact, such an ability may be just around the corner, arriving as part of larger new location-based system called Nearby.

We’re used to seeing mock-ups of screenshots for these new-feature reports Android Police regularly provides, but this time it’s sharing the real deal: those three pics below are reportedly how the currently available version of Nearby presents itself. Unfortunately, the copy the site has seen isn’t very functional, so much of what Nearby actually does is still unclear.

What we do see is a little bit about how Nearby gathers information, and it’s interesting that in addition to GPS-based sensor data, Google’s reaching out to things like Bluetooth and even your phone’s microphone. All of these combined could serve to provide some very precise location info; maybe the microphone could be used to sample background noise and match it against a “fingerprint” from other users, confirming you’re both in the same space.

Settings would allow users to control who else is allowed to get access to their location data through Nearby, helping to mitigate privacy concerns. Beyond letting them know about people in the vicinity, Nearby may also allow users to connect with places and things; Google’s got a growing interest in the connected home, and some hyper-accurate location tracking could open up new doors for how our phones let us interact with connected devices.

It’s far from a certainty, but Google I/O later this month could be a prime opportunity for Google to announce Nearby, should it be ready in time.


Source: Android Police


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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!