16 May 2017

Nearby is a recent application developed by Google, which unifies the Nearby Notification and Physical Web experiences, both types of notifications being identical for end users.

As such, the Nearby app now replaces Google Chrome as the preferred solution to detect Physical Web URLs on Android.

Nearby is part of the Google Services package, which is now installed on a very large number of devices.

In particular, it is natively present on all Android devices 4.4 and above, which represents 86% of the market in January 2017.

The Nearby app is not directly visible inside a smartphone’s app list.

To find it, you must go to your Settings>Google>Nearby.

How Nearby works

The first time a smartphone detects a Nearby- or Physical Web-enabled beacon, a notification asks the end user to accept the reception of Nearby notifications.

If the end user accepts, then each time the phone detects another enabled beacon, the phone displays the corresponding notification.

Note that by default, the priority of the notification is minimal, meaning that it will only be visible when the user pulls down the notification panel.

When a user clicks on a notification, its importance increases. After a while, the Nearby app adjusts the priority level of the notification, which means that it can become visible on the lock screen.

However, our tests seem to reveal that it can never have a priority higher than low.

Do you have a Nearby Notification project, or a Physical Web project? Contact us, and we can support you from beacon deployment to content management.

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