Google Introduces “Nearby” – A New Android API That Enables Proximity Based Interaction
Have you ever had a group of friends together and all wanted to play a multi-player game together? Or maybe you’re at lunch with your co-workers and you all get an idea and want to work on a document from your phones? Up until now, either of those would require you to either invite someone to a game or share access to an account. However today Google has announced a brand new API for Android known as “Nearby” and it’s pretty cool.
“Nearby” uses a combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and inaudible sound to find other nearby devices and interact. This could be in the form of allowing easy access to a nearby multi-player gaming session, collaborating on a playlist, or writing a document. This all comes from the Nearby Messages API which will be available for Android in the next version of Google Play Services and for iOS in the near future.
Early partners for this new API include PocketCasts and Trello. PocketCasts allows nearby users to compare each other’s podcast collection and Trello allows users to share their boards with other users nearby.
“Nearby” will be available on any Android device running Gingerbread or higher in Google Play Services 7.8. It’s not 100% clear when iOS will get the functionality (it’s likely on a per-app basis). The fun part is that this functionality doesn’t even require that you have a Google account.
If you’re an app developer, how do you plan on implementing this feature?