What is Google’s Take on BLE Beacon Development?

5 August 2015

Boston: Google seems to be tossing a new set of features to help developers in building apps using beacon technology. The new features include an open format for BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons to communicate with the devices. This open format is a way for developers to add data to the apps and Google services. It is also a way to handle a group of beacons efficiently. Google calls this new open format as Eddystone.

Why Google designed Eddystone?

  1. Google designed Eddystone as it wanted an open format that works well with both iOS and Android Bluetooth developer APIs.
  2. It wanted a flexible architecture that permits the development of new frame types.
  3. Google wanted an architecture that is fully compliant with Bluetooth Core Specification.

Google says that Eddystone offers an extensible platform capable of supporting multiple frame types for different use cases. Eddystone provides a protocol specification which defines a BLE message format for beacon messages. This format actually describes different frame types which can be used individually or in group to build different beacons which are used in different applications.

Eddystone offers Ephemeral Identifiers

Google also says that Eddystone offers Ephemeral Identifiers which keeps on changing. These identifiers allow only the authorized clients to decode them. This feature is mainly introduced with the high concern on privacy and security. With Eddystone, the developers are offered with two main benefits like ‘better semantic context’ and ‘precise location’.

Supporting this, Google is planning to launch the nearby API for iOS and Android to make it easier for apps to locate and communicate with nearby devices. Eddystone features extensible frame formats which allow the manufacturers to support multiple mobile platforms and app scenarios on a single device.

Google trying to improve its own products

With Eddystone, Google has started to improve its very own products and services with beacons. Earlier this year, Google Maps launched the beacon-based transit notifications in Portland with the purpose of helping the users get faster access to real time transit schedules. Very soon Google will also be able to use the contextual information to prioritize the most relevant cards, like displaying the menu items in a restaurant. When the mobile app is not available, the web project will use Eddystone beacons which broadcast URLs to help users interact with the surroundings for which Google has got lots of tools and code samples.

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