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‘Nearby’ API Comes to Chromebooks

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Here is the latest Android feature to land the Chrome OS land, the Nearby API. A couple of code commits spotted by XDA Developers, shows that Google has started working on this feature.

The Code

Commit 1

Implement HashUtils for CrOS Nearby.

This CL includes the implementation class for the abstract class
HashUtils defined in the Nearby library. It implements a string-based
interface for MD5 and SHA-256 hashing.

Because the actual Nearby library has yet to be merged into the CrOS
directory, this CL includes stand-in Nearby abstract classes under
the temporary directory //chromeos/components/nearby/library.
This directory will be removed after the Nearby library gets imported
to //third_party (in-progress CL:

Commit 2.

Initial import of the Nearby C++ codebase.

What is Nearby

Nearby uses a mix of WiFi, Audio, and Bluetooth to enable certain proximity-based features. Google recently extended Nearby to allow Bluetooth beacons to pop up notifications to apps or web pages.

Nearby compares the list of WiFi networks available to two devices to see if they are near each other. It can also use ultrasonic sound to detect nearby devices, like, phones can talk to each other using sound waves that we cannot hear.

Here is an excellent article explaining how Nearby on Android works. If you are a developer, here is the official documentation from Google.

On Chromebooks

It will be interesting to see how Nearby will be used on Chromebooks. I am curious to know if Google has something specific planned for Chrome OS or if they are merely porting this to Chrome OS so that Android apps that use this feature will work fine on Chromebooks.

What do you think?



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