In what is Google’s way of ensuring users have better access to relevant apps, it has today launched a new feature called ‘Nearby’. The feature essentially suggests users what apps they should use, based on their current location. In theory, this feature will put an end to the need to search for a particular app on Google Play Store when you are out. The Nearby feature works on smartphones running on Android KitKat 4.4 and above, and is being rolled out as a part of the Google Play Service update. Also Read - Google Chrome sending Enhanced Safe Browsing notifications? Know all about it hereAlso Read - Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro are really happening and Google just teased them
The Nearby feature requires you to have your smartphone’s Bluetooth and location enabled for it to work. Google has also provided a few examples of scenarios where the Nearby feature will be useful. So for example if you are travelling by United Airlines, you will get a notification suggesting that you download the official app, which offers free multimedia content. Also Read - Nord 2 5G explosion fiasco: OnePlus releases statement following investigation
It is not just restricted to apps either, and the feature will also recommend websites to visit, which is a part of Google’s Physical Web Project. The project included experiments on pop-up webpages on Chrome when at a particular location. So for example if you were visiting University of Notre Dame, Google Chrome will pop up the university’s website. The Nearby feature also works with select Google devices. The idea is to suggest to make a connection when your smartphone is near a Google Chromecast or an Android Wear smartwatch.
While Google doesn’t specifically mention it, the Android Nearby feature could in theory be connected to Instant Apps. Showcased at I/O 2016 earlier this year, this feature lets you use Android apps without actually having to install them on your mobile device. Developers basically split the app into multiple modules, and Google Play will only fetch those modules that are necessary to run it on a smartphone. So when Android Nearby recommends an app you can simply stream it, and only if required later install the full app on your mobile device.
Android Nearby sure sounds like an interesting feature and will go a long way in ensuring users download and use relevant apps. Though restricted to Android, Apple had introduced a similar feature on iOS 8, which would suggest apps on the lock screen based on your location.