Google has set its sights on competing with Apple’s iBeacon geolocation platform. The company recently introduced a series of new products that deploy Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technologies, including new open formats, APIs and tools for developing beacon-based services and apps.
The new products afford beacon app developers a great deal more control over monitoring and management issues than they have previously enjoyed. Google’s flagship BLE offering, known as Eddystone, is expected to be a boon for software developers looking for more freedom and flexibility. Eddystone has been integrated into the next generation of beacon hardware, with major vendors including Bluvision, Estimote, Kontakt.io, Radius Networks and Signal 360 among those already on board.
In addition, Google also introduced two APIs targeted at developers who wish to incorporate beacon technologies into their software products. First, the Nearby API for Android is designed to help mobile apps find beacons and other connected devices more easily. Second, the Proximity Beacon API allows developers to create stronger links between locations and data generated by beacons. These expanded data repositories are stored on Google-powered servers, theoretically enhancing the functionality and capabilities of apps that rely on them.
Google also plans to incorporate these new technologies into its own branded line of products. Earlier this year, Portland, Oregon-based Google Maps users became the beneficiaries of a pilot project that relayed transit information in real time. One possible future application is the deployment of geolocation technologies in restaurants that will allow users to bring up menus on their mobile devices as soon as they reach a connected location.
Mobile app development in Chicago and across the country will be greatly affected by the emergence of expanded geolocation technologies. For software developers, it will mark a major area of growth in the coming years, and Google’s recent moves has signaled the company’s intention to be a key player.
Tags: android api, android beacon api, beacon service, beacon technologies, Bluetooth low energy, Bluvision, data generated, eddystone, eddystone beacon, Estimote, google beacons, google ble, google ble api, google maps, Google-powered servers, ibeacon, ibeacons, Kontakt.io, nearby api, open formats, proximity beacon api, Radius Networks, Signal 360, software developers