Radius Networks Developer Blog

Android’s new Nearby Notifications

Nearby Notifications, an upcoming feature in Android that shows you apps or websites from things around you, was unveiled at Google I/O a few weeks ago.  Nearby allows developers to associate their website or app with beacons and provide low-priority notifications when scanned by Android devices that are nearby.

Profiled in the announcement were Radius Networks customers taking advantage of early access to this new technology – CVS, United Airlines and Notre Dame. Radius Networks is a whitelisted developer and can register Nearby Notifications with Google on behalf of our customers and partners.

Nearby Notifications in the Wild

CVS

Radius Networks has partnered with CVS to deploy and activate the largest beacon network in the world with over 9,000 separate locations and 20,000 beacons. Using the Google Nearby technology, customers entering a CVS location will be notified that they can print photos directly from their phone to the photo kiosk located in the CVS store. They will get this notification even if they do not have the app and will be taken to the Play Store if they don’t.

CVS Screen Shots

United Airlines

United Airlines is using the Android functionality to remind passengers to download the United app before they board so they can take advantage of in-flight entertainment.

United Screen Shots

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame is using the new technology to enhance their campus tour with student-generated video content as they approach specific locations.

Notre Dame Screen Shots

So how does it work?

In order for Android’s Nearby service to detect a Nearby Notification, you must first register your beacon in Google’s Proximity Beacon API, and add an attachment with the specific namespacedType of “com.google.nearby/en” (or “com.google.nearby/en-debug” for testing).

Note: if you use “com.google.nearby/en”, your attachment must go through an approval process with Google. If you use “com.google.nearby/en-debug”, your attachment will be immediately available to devices that are in developer mode.

The data for the attachment is a JSON object of the format:

{
  "title": "TITLE GOES HERE",
  "description": "DESCRIPTION HERE",
  "url": "https://example.com"
}

Google provides documentation on Nearby Notifications on their Developer Portal.

Once your beacon is registered and your attachment has been added, you should be able to turn on a beacon with the identifiers you registered (or use MacBeacon) and your device should respond by displaying a notification.

MacBeacon Screen Shots

Summary

We at Radius Networks believe Nearby Notifications will bridge a massive gap in the use of beacon technology. Now Android users will no longer need a mobile app to be notified of value-added experiences near points of interest.

Please reach out to us to see how we can help you engage your customers using this Nearby technology from Google and Radius Networks. Click here to contact us.