Latest Android Feature Notifies You About Apps Helpful in Your Location

Google’s always coming up with convenient ways for Android users to get at useful apps faster, like showing them in recommended lists on the Play Store and giving you suggestions after installing one. However, those features will probably seem stupid after you read this…


In an official blog post, Google has announced that within an upcoming version of Google Play Services, they’ll be releasing a feature to Android users which notifies you when an app would be convenient to have at a certain location. This works via the built-in Bluetooth and Location radios in your device and gives you helpful suggestions based on where you currently are.

Let’s say you’re at a museum and they have an official app which gives you a digital map and audio tour. You could just go look it up yourself in the Play Store, however with Nearby (the name of the feature), you’ll be notified about the app which, when tapped, will direct you to its Play Store listing and allow you to download it. Pretty cool, right?

Of course, not everyone’s gonna be a fan of this, as some might just see this as constant advertisements wherever you go. And while that may be true to some extent, it’s still a useful feature many will take advantage of.

Developers can build in beacon technology into their apps so users are notified when their software is useful at the present time. There’s no word whether you’ll need to pay to have this feature in your app, however it doesn’t seem likely as of now.

Google says that devices such as Android Wear watches and Chromecasts will also be easier to set up, as using the new Nearby feature the devices will be able to be read in proximity of your phone while your Bluetooth and Location are set up.

You must have your Bluetooth and Location data on to use Nearby alongside a network connection in order to download the apps. Android devices with 4.4 KitKat and above will receive the new feature as a part of a future update to Play Services. You can read Google’s full article about the feature below.

Introducing Nearby: A new way to discover the things around you

The Play Store offers over one million apps – many of which are created to be used in specific locations or situations. The right app at the right moment lets you get more done. For example, at a store, you may want a barcode scanner to check prices and reviews for an item. Or when you’re at a museum, an audio tour would enhance the experience as you make your way around the exhibits.

But, getting the right apps at the right time can be tough if you don’t already know about them. So, we’re introducing a new Android feature called Nearby, which notifies you of things that can be helpful near you.

For example:

Select Google devices, including Google Cast and Android Wear watches, will also let you set them up simply by tapping a notification when you’re near them.

Earlier this year, we started experimenting with surfacing websites relevant to a place in Chrome through the Physical Web project. In addition to displaying relevant apps, Nearby will surface these websites directly from Android. To deploy your own beacons that work with Nearby, check out our developer blog post.

To use Nearby, just turn on Bluetooth and Location, and we’ll show you a notification if a nearby app or website is available. Once you’ve opted-in, tapping on a notification takes you straight into the intended experience. If you’re not interested, just swipe it away to give us a clear signal.

Nearby has started rolling out to users as part of the upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above.

Source: Google via The Verge