Google's 'Physical Web' answer to Apple's iBeacons gets first hardware partner

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2014
Google's early-stage "Physical Web" project --?an attempt to displace Apple's iBeacons with a similar, open-source framework -- is beginning to take shape,?as Turkish hardware firm Blesh is now offering the first Physical Web-compatible Bluetooth beacon hardware.




For $50, developers can purchase a kit containing three Bluetooth beacons that implement Physical Web's accompanying UriBeacon standard. UriBeacon, which is designed to largely mimic iBeacon functionality, allows the small stick-on devices to broadcast either a unique identifier or a standard HTTP URL over Bluetooth Low Energy.

Blesh's Physical Web beacons can be configured using an Android application, and the company is urging developers to dream up novel applications for the technology.

"We encourage developers to let their imaginations run wild," Blesh CEO Devrim Sonmez said in a release. "We see even non-smart phone devices such as wearables communicating with Blesh PW beacons making possible an ecosystem that blurs the edge between physical items and the web."



The Physical Web project and the accompanying UriBeacon specification were announced by Google in October of this year. While the implementation is similar to iBeacons, the project's ambitions are --?as is Google's wont --?far more grand, imagining a future in which nearly every physical object is beacon-enabled.

"The Physical Web is an effort to extend the core superpower of the web - the URL - to everyday physical objects," according to the project's GitHub page. "Our core premise is that you should be able to walk up to any "smart" physical object (e.g. a vending machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car) and interact with it without first downloading an app. The user experience of smart objects should be much like links in a web browser: i.e., just tap and use."

Blesh's participation in the Physical Web program is particularly notable, as the company has deployed thousands of iBeacons as an Apple-authorized service provider. Competitors like Estimote and Gimbal provide Android-compatible software development kits, but none have stepped in to support UriBeacon.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    "The more to track and monetize you with, my dear." —The Big Bad Wolf
  • Reply 2 of 10
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,872member

    Delivering on Eric Schmidt's promise: "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."

  • Reply 3 of 10
    Much better idea then ibeacons in my opinion. Its web base not app base. I shouldn't have to download an app to get information.

    Google can't do what apple does due to hardware variation and fragmentation so they move up the stack to the cloud. Apple moves down the stack to hardware.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:

     a unique identifier or a standard HTTP URL over Bluetooth Low Energy.


    It's already dead.

     

    No way I'm transmitting anything HTTP. Especially on a mobile device. HTTPS or GTFO Google.

  • Reply 5 of 10
    It's just a URL so HTTPS is also supported
  • Reply 6 of 10

    To me the biggest problem is it relies on HTTP making it totally useless when you don't have a reliable data connection (which happens inside many stores, also for tourists abroad with expensive data data roaming turned off, etc).

     

    iBeacon can unlock built-in features in an app without any data connection.

     

    Google didn't really think this through and I doubt they'll put many resources into it it going forward. Sounds more like "Web|Open" PR-talk for their gullible followers. 

  • Reply 7 of 10
    yesh blesh....http protocol exploitable.
  • Reply 8 of 10

    to me, the biggest problem is that it's google.

  • Reply 9 of 10

    how is it that google with all of its money is still are usually behind apple (minus glass, glassholes and barges)? [i wrote usually so do not attack me about maps, cloud documents and such]. even things that i think are cool i would never turn to due to the utter lack of security and famed opens that allows the company and any half-assed hacker see my life in its near entirety. i would even be nervous to get google fibre as the roll out is taking so long i wonder if it is because they are finding ways to copy every byte that passes through first.

  • Reply 10 of 10
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,042member
    jmncl wrote: »
    To me the biggest problem is it relies on HTTP making it totally useless when you don't have a reliable data connection (which happens inside many stores, also for tourists abroad with expensive data data roaming turned off, etc).

    iBeacon can unlock built-in features in an app without any data connection.

    Google didn't really think this through and I doubt they'll put many resources into it it going forward. Sounds more like "Web|Open" PR-talk for their gullible followers. 

    This a a product in development and clearly noted as currently in a prototyping stage Additionally it's not even a Google product, and there's also an iOS version.
    https://github.com/google/physical-web/blob/master/documentation/getting_started.md
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/physical-web/id927653608?mt=8
Sign In or Register to comment.