Google launches Nearby: A proximity API for iOS and Android apps

Apps using the new API make it easier to find people in the area that are using the same apps as you, allowing for data sharing and conversation starters.

It's about to get much easier for people to find others around them that use the same apps: Google on Tuesday debuted Nearby, an API for iOS and Android apps that assists with proximity.

Using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and sounds inaudible to the human ear, apps enabled with Nearby can discover and share data between people and applications.

Google has already used an earlier implementation of Nearby for its Chromecast Guest Mode and for pairing players close to each other in Google Play Games. The company is now opening up the API to third-party developers on both major mobile platforms.

In its blog post announcing the API, Google shared a few implementation examples with its software partners.

A DJ using the Edjing app can have his or her track playlist readily available for sharing to anyone in the room. Popular podcast app PocketCasts is also using Nearby: You can see what any other PocketCasts users around you are listening to and even highlight common podcasts between people.

Google Play Services 7.8 is required for Nearby functionality but a Google account isn't. And the service is opt-in: When an app calls the Nearby API, the user is prompted to either grant or deny access for the proximity sharing.