Google Announces Nearby Connections 2.0, Adds Offline, High Bandwidth Communications
When Google started to roll out version 7.8 of Google Play Services back in 2015, it came with an API called Nearby Messages. This Nearby feature allowed your Android device to listen for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and inaudible sound to find out if you were in the proximity of other capable devices. This could be other Android devices (so they can communicate with each other) as well as BLE beacons that would start to become used by brands in public areas.
At Google I/O 2016, the company announced an update to Google Play Services that included some usability improvements to the Nearby API. This change would automatically equip applications with fine-grain location permissions the ability to use scan for BLE beacons using the Nearby API. The change upset a lot of people since the permissions were granted automatically and didn’t prompt the user to manually decide whether or not they wanted an application to function that way.
Now, Google has launched Nearby Connections 2.0 to include some of the features they spoke about at Google I/O earlier this year. This new update allows for Android’s Nearby API to provide fully-offline high bandwidth, low latency, encrypted data transfers between nearby devices in a P2P manner. Devices which are capable of receiving the update to Google Play Services version 11.0 and up will automatically gain this new functionality to the Nearby API.
To help get the ball rolling with these new features, Google has partnered with some 3rd-party companies to showcase what the API update is capable of. This includes The Weather Channel, Hotstar, and GameInsight by building an on-demand mesh network, enabling offline media sharing, and providing them ways to find new players close by (respectively). Google’s Android TV team is even working on using it to build a new remote control application that simplifies the initial setup process.
Source: Android Developers Blog