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Nearby API from Google in Focus

Posted on 8.05.2015

As "mobile" infiltrates every aspect of the modern digital experience, it's important that developers find ways to foster an environment where sharing and communicating can be done effortlessly with those close by and Google's new Nearby API helps developers do just that.

Google describes the offering in its developers' portal this way...

"Nearby exposes simple publish and subscribe methods that rely on proximity. Your app publishes a payload that can be received by nearby subscribers. On top of this foundation, you can build a variety of user experiences to share messages and create real-time connections between nearby devices."

The proximity-based API essentially enables iOS and Android devices to communicate with each other (as well as with beacons) using a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and inaudible sound (using the device’s speaker and microphone).

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The Nearby API (which is divided into the Nearby Messages API and the Nearby Connections API) has already been incorporated into several Google products, including Chromecast Guest Mode, Nearby Players in Google Play Games and Google Tone.

Several rather creative experiences have also been created with Nearby by third-party developers. Edjing Pro, for example, uses Nearby to let DJs publish their tracklists to people around them, while collaboration tool Trello uses it to enable users to share their Trello boards with others.

As the mobile evolution continues, real-time cross-device experiences will quickly become the norm and developers should consider exploring the Nearby API to make that happen within their own applications.

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