We’ve been hearing about a new proximity based API called ‘Nearby’ for some time now. Android Police first surfaced code relating to the API over a year ago, and today Google has made it official. On the Android Developers site, Google has spoken about what Nearby is and how it will help you share information with people, places, and devices that are in close proximity.
We’ve seen shades of Nearby for a while now, in the Guest mode on Chromecast, the Google Tone Chrome extension and now we’re going to see it in apps. The function will begin showing up as part of the latest release of Google Play services 7.8, with the Nearby Messages API becoming available to developers on iOS and Android devices (Android 2.3+).
The first apps to launch Nearby communication are Trello – a collaboration tool to help you get things done, and star podcasting app Pocket Casts. Trello has added a way to share boards with people nearby, while Pocket Casts has added a ‘Nearby’ tab to their podcast discovery tab.
As well as Nearby Messages, there’s also a Nearby Connections API which will be used more for things like multiplayer gaming, think Chromecast gaming with friends using all your devices as controllers with minimal setup.
There’s a lot more to learn about Nearby for developers on the Nearby landing page. We can’t wait to see more implementations.