Rumor has it that Google is soon going to unveil a new Android feature called “Nearby.” Apparently it will enable devices to automatically interact with each other. The feature is reportedly going to come through an upcoming Google Play Services update. The feature is said to allow people to connect, share and do more with people, places and things near them.
In real world scenarios Nearby would be useful for sharing information with others as devices would automatically share and interact based on context. Moreover it would also let users receive deals or additional information about products when they’re in a store that also uses the same technology.
AndroidPolice reports that there will be limits on the way Nearby can automatically interact on the user’s behalf. They will presumably be able to choose what information is visible to other people while not having to interact with the device every time they need to share something with devices around them, which could be a friend’s phone or a smart device in the house.
The source does say that Nearby is still in development and its settings haven’t been fully built out just yet. Turning the feature on will reportedly enable it across all of the user’s devices, Location History and Location Reporting will have to be turned on for it to work.
Purported screenshots of Nearby reveal that the feature will have the ability to automatically turn on the mic, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This is probably going to not sit well with privacy advocates since Google would have the ability to record audio from a user’s device without them even knowing about it.
Even though its going to make interaction between devices much easier Google would still have to adequately answer all privacy related queries. Its not known when the company intends on showing off Nearby, though the possibility exists that it might explain the feature in detail at I/O 2014 later this month.
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