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Is Google Eddystone going to replace Apple iBeacon or just invade your privacy?

Google is enhancing the IoT with a technology for companies to communicate with customers. The concept: You are in a shopping mall or on a local street and there are hordes of small Bluetooth radios broadcasting marketing messages to all the Android phones in the area (8 of 10 smartphones are Android).

Fot. Radek Tadajewski – CEO, OORT Inc.

Now every light bulb, thermostat, smart power outlet or smart finder that is equipped with Bluetooth can be used to gather various data like your location, the humidity and temperature there and more. These devices will also be able to send message links to any Android phone user in the area (It works with iOS devices as well).

Google will also be able to generate data about its Android users as your smartphone will continuously provide them with beacon interaction data like location. This is a new and open format that anyone can use and that is what makes it unique. So a company can send a web link via URL or an app.

Most useful of all to marketers is a treasure-trove of information like never before. Marketers will now be able to send you targeted messages with a context dimension.

I know that when I get marketing calls on my phone nowadays I never answer unless I know who the caller is—they can leave a message if it is important. That’s where I am regarding “targeted” marketing calls invading my privacy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against my Bluetooth-powered coffee maker reminding me that I am running out of coffee (powered by an IoT company known as OORT in the near future) and ordering it for me if I have chosen that option. But I reserve the right to choose what marketing services I want and I should also be able to choose not to get messages that I do not want—-don’t you think?

Google has some good use of beacons as well, in my opinion, with their plans to use the beacons for real-time transit information starting in Portland, Oregon. Also, regarding privacy, Eddystone uses Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs) for security which can only be decoded by “authorized clients”.

Check out this video about developing with beacons:

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this subject!

4 comments on “Is Google Eddystone going to replace Apple iBeacon or just invade your privacy?

  1. sandy12345
    July 28, 2015

    very good post…worth to read…Happy friendship day

  2. eafpres
    August 2, 2015

    Hi Steve.  I looked at this and watched the video.  In some ways it reminds me of a low-level M2M (Machine to Machine) protocal know as MQTT.  MQTT allows automatic discovery and other features, and is open source.

    In one of the use cases described, it is a little confusig to me what benefit can accrue to the user (i.e. the phone user) from fixed beaons in places like bus stops or train stations. If I assume the user has a smart phone, which is how the use cases described are characterized, then the phone can know you are near the bus stop or train station befre the beacon tells it, by using its own location service and an app.

    The idea of beacons that move is a bit more interesting.  I can imagine that a taxi fleet owner could decide to put becons in all their cabs, but given the short range of BLE, I'm not clear what that acomplishes; essentially you would know a cab was near about the time it ran over you.  And of course, there are already apps for cabs that tell you if a cab is near or how long you might need to wait for one.

    What do all these ramblings prove?  I think they prove I'm missing something.  It is intriguing and I'll try to learn more if I have time.  Thanks for the post; now I know about something of interest I was missing until now!

  3. Steve Taranovich
    August 2, 2015

    @eafpres1—thanks for your thoughts on this effort. Try some of the links for more details, like the one for OORT for other product ideas and Google has lots more on their Eddystone technology on their site

  4. eafpres
    August 3, 2015

    Thanks, Steve.  I'll take a deeper look.

    Best regards,

    Blaine Bateman

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