Android users to get app-free beacon messages

Google has begun supporting the physical web in its Chrome browser for Android, enabling users to discover web content relevant to their surroundings via Eddystone Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons — without needing to download a specific app.

Chrome for Android “Last year, Chrome for iOS took an initial step in supporting the Physical Web, and the community has already begun exploring promising applications,” Google’s Ani Mohan writes in a blog post. “Starting in version 49, Chrome for Android will also surface Physical Web content, making these experiences available to an even larger audience.

“Now, Physical Web developers can reach Chrome for Android users as well, starting with the Beta channel and rolling out more widely soon.”

“When these users walk by a beacon for the first time, they’ll receive a notification allowing them to enable the Physical Web,” Mohan explains. “On future encounters with beacons, users can quickly see a list of nearby URLs by tapping on a non-vibrating notification waiting for them.

“Developers can make their web content discoverable on the Physical Web by configuring an Eddystone-supported beacon to broadcast a URL of their choice with the Eddystone-URL frame type. Now that the Physical Web is tightly integrated into Chrome for Android, a single deployment can deliver contextual information to Chrome users across multiple mobile platforms.”

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