Google announced Tuesday its iBeacon alternative, for which it quietly, worked for years. The alternative is called Eddystone and its code is open source, which means it can be deployed across multiple platforms. Something not possible with iBeacon for the time being.
Eddystone is actually a platform for devices to communicate with each other with Bluetooth low energy signal. It looks somewhat like Apple iBeacon that the company announced in 2013. Apple uses the technique among other things, to send offers to iOS devices users in a particular store.
According to Ars Technica, who spoke with the team behind Eddystone, Google’s approach differs slightly. For example, the platform, unlike iBeacon, can be easily supported on multiple operating systems, because the source code is open source. Google has released the code on GitHub under an Apache License v2.0.
Another point where Google’s platform is different is the so-called frame types. This means that the beacons can be used for more cases than just sending a notification. One option, according to Ars Technica, is to determine who is where in a store and what service is the person using at that time, such as connecting to a Wi-Fi network.
Google develops Eddystone currently and has no interest in manufacturing associated hardware and software to manage the beacons. The company leaves that to partners. However, the technology giant would be working to implement beacons in its software, such as Google Maps. This means that maps can display real-time alerts for delays on the track or on the road.
Eddystone is not Google’s first project for interaction with devices. At the end of last year was the company came up with The Physical Web. This project enables smart devices connected to the Internet to interact with people through URLs.