Google Launches Location Tracking Tool to Compete with Apple

Google is launching Eddystone, a new format that uses electronic beacons to track users’ locations and link their smartphones with nearby objects. Its purpose is to provide useful information to users, such as electronic bus tickets when they’re detected near bus stops, or information on paintings when they are touring museums. Google is competing against Apple’s iBeacon technology, which was released in 2013. Eddystone will be open to multiple platforms and will include features that work on both Android phones and iPhones.

“We’re beginning to roll out a new set of features to help developers build apps using this technology,” Google explained in its blog. “This includes a new open format for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons to communicate with people’s devices, a way for you to add this meaningful data to your apps and to Google services, as well as a way to manage your fleet of beacons efficiently.”

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With the shift in consumer attention to smartphones and tablets, Google is investing more in mobile services and competing more directly with Apple. Gartner cites that 81 percent of smartphone owners worldwide used Google’s Android operating system last year, and only 15 percent used Apple’s iOS.

According to Bloomberg, Google also hopes to integrate Eddystone with its Google Now service, a product that provides contextual information about a user’s surroundings before he/she searches for it.