Google developing new feature for Android

Posted on June 12, 2014


Search company Google has revealed that it is currently developing software that focuses on connectivity for Android, which would permit the sharing of information and data based on location and proximity of devices.

It is believed that the new function, named Nearby, would automatically connect devices that are within a certain range, allowing those signed up to swap contact details and information about places in the area, including offers from local businesses. Users would also be able to set reminders for the next meeting with a certain person or visit a certain company.

In order to detect another device, the user’s phone ‘listens’ for others as, once given permission to utilise this function, it will have access to the phone’s in-built microphone, turning it on to listen to sounds that will be inaudible to human ears.

Nearby will also be granted permission to switch on Wi-Fi and share the location history of the user. California-based Google has explained that the feature:

“[…] can periodically turn on the mic, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and similar features on all your current and future devices.”

It continues to justify this by saying:

“Google+ and other Google services need this access to help you connect, share, and more.”

The facility has, unsurprisingly, attracted numerous privacy concerns. Many online news providers have suggested that users may not take to this feature through fear that they are being spied upon, at a time when stories about phone tapping scandals and government snooping are in the spotlight.

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