Google will soon introduce “Nearby” to send you notifications when you’re around certain people or places

Google Nearby

Lately we’ve seen Google push for location-sensitive reminders in Google Now, especially with the monthly walking counts and parking spot reminders, but it looks like they’re close to finally adding in contact-based reminders and notifications. In short, Google Now will be able to give you a notification about something whenever you’re around a particular person or place.

According to Android Police, the functionality for Nearby is going to be baked into a Play Store Services update, since it will rely heavily on checking some of the hardware on your phone to tell when you’re around another person. Nearby will need location history and location reporting turned on, and will be able to periodically check things like your device microphone, WiFi, and Bluetooth features to figure out where you are. Now, that obviously sounds pretty invasive, but Google looks like they’re serious about protecting personal information with Nearby.

Instead of your device just beaming off your information to any smartphone in a two mile radius, the information is sent to Google’s servers, where it will be matched with other nearby users. If the users are near each other, they’ll be given a proximity notification from Google, not from the other device. It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good solution for those of you that have privacy concerns over this kind of thing. Plus, you’ll still be able to turn the feature off and control who can see when you’re nearby.

There’s a lot Google can do with a feature like this, from targeting Google Wallet offers to people near a particular place, to home automation, to allowing you to set up a reminder to give your buddy back the 20 bucks you owe him the next time you see him. We aren’t going to see this feature implemented in the immediate future, but keep your eyes open in the next few months.

source: Android Police


About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.


  • John Grabb

    I pray we will be able to keep it turned off but with Google wanting to know AND control everything I doubt it

  • Jason h

    This sounds horrible. Android is getting more and more invasive by the day.

    • Mark Stephenson

      Not at all. Imagine walking past a coffee shop and you get a notification on your phone (via Google Nearby) for a “buy one get one free” coupon.

      It’s great both for business and the consumer.

    • Darcetha Manning

      I agree Jason h. I don’t need some creep getting fixated on me, by knowing where I am. It’s bad enough the government knows all of your business!

  • alex0000000001

    You don’t need a microphone to know where you are. If not for privacy reasons just for battery life. I still run with my phone gimped (brightness, wifi, widget refreshing, facebook etc checking) so that I can use it and still have the battery last more than 6 hours without me worrying whether that last 20% or so will be enough should I have to make a phone call. If only we could stop this pointless obsession with thin phones… i’d love to see just one manufacturer produce a phone in the same spec as a galaxy s3, say, but 3 times the thickness to hold the battery.