Google Nearby brings Increase Accuracy to Android
Google’s been a trooper when it comes to expanding the features of their applications and services which come built in to Android. With the recent update enabling things like parking location and waking you up when you reach your destination, it’s not surprising that the Search behemoth is looking to grow their location based data services – that’s precisely what Google Nearby intends to do.
Google Nearby is looking to be a feature that will be baked into all Android devices and will probably be introduced at the upcoming Google I/O conference happening at the end of this month. It seems to be a rebuttal of sorts to Apple’s recently announced Continuity feature in iOS and OSX. Before we dive into the actual leak, here’s a description of the service slated to make an appearance in your Android settings panel.
“Nearby lets you connect, share, and do more with people, places, and things near you.
When Nearby is turned on for your account, Google can periodically turn on the mic, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and similar features on all your current and future devices. Google+ and other Google services need this access to help you connect, share, and more.
When you turn on Nearby, you’re also turning on Location History for your account and Location Reporting for this device. Google needs these services to periodically store your location data for use by Nearby, other Google services, and more.”
From just that statement, we’re gathering that the feature is going to be scary accurate with location data. It seems like the service is going to be something like the XBOX One’s Kinect with Google Nearby periodically activating the mic, WiFi and Bluetooth to ascertain location. But here’s the bright side, the data will actually benefit the use as it allows the devices to interact with each other contextually similar to what we’ve seen in Google’s Android Wear Promo Video. This could also mean that Android may also receive major functionality upgrades at the upcoming Google I/O.
According to Android Police, the feature will appear in the settings menu under the Locations tab. There are a few screen caps in the gallery from Android Police’s post. The feature actually seemingly brings together Google’s recent acquisitions in particular that of BUMP and also SlickLogin – both services which use contextual data for specific actions. In the case of the former, it utilised a bump action to turn on WiFi or Bluetooth to send data from one device to another. While privacy maybe a huge concern with this technology, it’s going to be critical that Google does it’s best to protect user privacy. However, as with many things Google, there will be measures to ensure privacy. In this case in particular, Google may anonymously aggregate similar data together for better accuracy at their end. Google may also integrate some granularity in letting the user choose what data is collected using Google Nearby.
Also a possibility for Google Nearby is increased security and user friendliness in the interactions between Android and ChromeOS if not across the board. Android Police highlights recent rumours which point to a feature with ChromeOS which allows users to unlock the Chrome based device simply by having their phones nearby it called “Easy Unlock” though no hard evidence linking the two has emerged.
This among other features which are expected to be incoming to Android could possibly indicate that there maybe a big update coming to the operating system in the near future – most like at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O which takes place in a matter of weeks.
Sources: Android Police