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Google launches open source beacon protocol Eddystone

Search giant Google has launched its own open source beacon format called Eddystone, that enables BLE (Bluetooth low energy) devices to act as markers that provide contextual information in the real world. A beacon is essentially a low energy Bluetooth device that can broadcast its identity to other Bluetooth electronic devices like smartphones and tablets. These beacons can then be installed at points of interest, like bus stops, or a vending machines, to distribute relevant information like bus timings or inventory available etc. Previously, such location markers used GPS to identify their location but BLE has certain advantages like reduced battery consumption and location precision down to a few centimeters over older GPS based systems. Google’s platform Eddystone will support multiple frame types for different use cases, as well as versioning of software to make updates easier. The platform is cross-compatible with Android, iOS and other devices that support BLE beacons, so pretty much any modern device with Bluetooth should be able to communicate with it. Interestingly, Google has also made this platform open source and its source code is freely available via GitHub. To address privacy concerns, Google mentions that Eddystone will come with a feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs) which change frequently and can only be decoded by authorized clients. According to the company, this technology can be used by users to find their luggage at airports, or to find their lost keys. However, the company is yet to publish the technical specifications for this technology. Beacon APIs: Google…

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