iBeacons is a feature that Apple has been tinkering with for the past year or so. The idea is that when your iOS device approaches a Bluetooth beacon that’s located in a Starbucks store, you will be able to directly launch the Starbucks app from your phone’s lockscreen. The good news is that if you are an Android user, you will soon be able to do the same.
Google has recently announced that they will be moving forward with their plans to support Bluetooth beacons, although right now the functionality will be limited to the Chrome browser for Android. The functionality is similar to iBeacons in which if you were to approach a Bluetooth beacon, Chrome will notify you of it and you will then be prompted as to whether or not you wish to interact with it.
Dubbed the Physical Web, it has been described as “an extension of the web into the physical world so you can walk up and interact with any device, from a lost dog collar to a zipCar, all without installing an application first. Every smart device links to a web page so things can offer simple information, like a phone number, or more complex interactions like unlocking a car door.”
There is a variety of potential uses for the technology. For example earlier this year at CES, Radius Networks used Bluetooth beacons to help attendees find their way around. It has also been proposed that supermarkets can use the technology to inform customers of promotions for certain items when they enter, and so on. To get a better idea of the Physical Web, you can watch Google’s video above.