A big new update is heading to Android smartphones and tablets, which will simplify setting up Google Cast products, such as Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. The revision will mean that when an Android device detects a piece of Google Cast-supporting hardware that has not yet been set up, a notification will appear offering an easy way to start the set-up process.
Google Cast is best known as the technology that allows an Android device to be used to playback content via a Chromecast. But Google Cast has also been deployed on other products such as Nexus TV, and will be used on the forthcoming Google Home speaker.
Easier Google Cast set-up is not the only change that is forthcoming. A new feature called Nearby is being introduced to Android, designed to make it easier to discover apps that are specific to a device’s locations.
The official Android blog gives the examples of a barcode scanner being recommended in a store, and an audio tour being offered whilst visiting a museum.
It is not clear exactly what Nearby will offer internationally, as all of the launch services that are being promoted are based in the United States. For instance, it will be possible to order photo printing when close to a branch of CVS/pharmacy.
The way that Nearby works should nonetheless ensure that support for the service spreads around the world. Full documentation is available to allow developers to associate their website or app with a hardware beacon.
Nearby’s documentation lists eight companies around the world that are able to supply the necessary beacons.