Google is reportedly working on a new Android feature that allows phones and tablets to connect automatically with devices and places around them. The new feature, called Nearby, may allow people to share information easily with others or receive deals from stores that they're in. The 'Nearby' features is expected to be announced at Google's I/O conference later this month.
Google has already added reminders and alerts, the new Nearby feature will reportedly allow Android users to set a reminder that's triggered the next time they see a specific person. To protect their privacy users will also be able to choose who they are visible to.
According to Android Police, to use the feature Nearby will automatically turn on a device's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and microphone. This will allow Android devices to recognise one another based on audio signals imperceptible to the human ear. However, this feature may pose huge security concerns as Google would be automatically opening up and recording audio from your device. Nearby will reportedly record users' location history as well and all their information will be saved on Google's servers. Amid NSA surveillance concerns, this may be a big issue for users. Google hasn't responded on the report yet.
Google acquired Bump that used the bumping motion as well as location data to know when two devices wanted to interact. Earlier this year Google also acquired SlickLogin which uses audio, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to authenticate. 'Nearby' feature could bring these techniques together.
Apple has also made a recent announcement of Continuity, an iOS and OS X feature that allows all Apple-made devices to interact with each other automatically based on their proximity.
Source: Android Police