After lagging behind Chrome for iOS for several months, the Chrome for Android app is finally getting support for the Physical Web. Google announced that starting in version 49 of the browser, the app will be able to detect and interact with the Eddystone-URL scheme that Google is supporting along with Eddystone low-energy Bluetooth beacons.
Google’s addition of the Physical Web features to Chrome for Android will start with the Beta channel, but developers indicate support with be “rolling out more widely soon.” For app developers and content providers, they can continue to make web content discoverable on the Physical Web using the same Eddystone-URL framework and beacons that work with the Chrome for iOS browser. The expansion to support the Android ecosystem will bring Physical Web benefits to a much larger audience.
The Physical Web is a way for users to interact with content and services without having to install a separate, standalone app. When a user gets within range of a Bluetooth beacon that is configured for the Physical Web, they can access sites or cloud-based applications through the browser. One of the benefits is that the beacons will transmit the availability of Physical Web content whose presence is then pushed to end users. This means people do not have to search for content.
Google indicates the first time a user is close to a beacon, they will receive a notification asking if they want to enable the Physical Web for that point. If they do, users will be presented with a list of available content via URLs that is nearby. Future visits will create a similar list that is displayed as a non-vibrating notification on their device.
Google noted that attendees at CES 2016 were able to tap into 1,500 beacons that were deployed to help navigate the showrooms. Organizers also setup a scavenger hunt for attendees that made use of the beacons. The Golden State Warriors basketball team is using the Physical Web to deliver video highlights and other content to fans in attendance at Oracle Arena.
source: Chromium Blog