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How do I respond when Google asks about your last purchase?

This week I went to buy a pack of gum on a vending machine, and a few seconds after the purchase, I received a notification from Google on my phone asking how my shopping experience had been. For everything, what just happened? How does Google know that I just bought a box of gum? Well, I wasn't hallucinating, it was just Google's Nearby feature that was enabled on my Android.

What is Google Nearby and how does it work?

Google Nearby was introduced during Google I / O 2016, the Google Developer Conference. This mechanism basically serves to promote a greater interaction between you and people, places and things nearby. For Nearby to work, a public API is required that allows you to "connect" to another device while walking around it. Including the name of the service: "Nearby" in English means "close".

It works almost like an instant QR code, since you don't have to remove the device from your pocket, scan the code and then interact with it. The operation is almost invisible.

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This is Nearby as soon as you activate it / AndroidPIT
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<p>The company <em>Beaconsinside</em> The installation of approach devices on vending machines in the Berlin subway began. Simple operation operation, these devices send a URL that will appear in the notification bar of your smartphone as a notification of Nearby service.</p>
<p>All this should be called "Physical Web" (something that can be translated as "physical network"), which allows this interaction between objects. Surely you have heard about the "Internet of Things", right? Nearby is another part of this and will make vending machines connect to your smartphone and even ask how your shopping experience went if this is the case.</p><div class='code-block code-block-4' style='margin: 8px auto; text-align: center; display: block; clear: both;'>
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What would you like to find in a sales machine?

That was the question my colleague Steffan asked after we bought the pack of gum. Our experience with Nearby happened in Berlin, Germany, and when it came to the first time we used the feature, we were sent a full explanation of the service, as you can see in the image below (sorry, but in German) :

google nearby andrpidpit 2
In the first screenshot we have the notification asking about the purchase experience; in the other two a link that directed us to the product nutritional information / AndroidPIT

In the screenshots, we got feedback on the shopping experience and then we also had access to the nutritional information of the products offered on the machine where we bought the gum.

In contact with Beaconsinside, We have been told that since we began using this method, the company has been receiving an average of 400 to 500 suggestions per day about what users would like to find in vending machines. And based on this result, the Beaconsinside has been adding more products. We are facing a new form of marketing and consumer interaction.

However, the use of this service is not limited to this. From Nearby you will be able to check when the next public transport will stop at a stop or station, or send the menu of the restaurant you have just entered to your mobile phone.

How to use Nearby?

Sure, your phone has this feature and it is running Android 5.0 and above and is equipped with Bluetooth. If you belong to the remaining 35% you are an antisocial telephoner who cannot communicate with anything. I invite you to find out by directing Settings> Google> Nearby. You will receive a little explanation about this feature and you can add an icon to your start screen.

If your smartphone is running Android 5.0 or higher and is equipped with the Bluetooth feature, you can use the Nearby service. To enable this feature, go to Settings> Google> Services> Nearby. Doing so will give you a short explanation about this feature and you can add a Nearby icon to your home screen.

nearby google
How to set up Nearby / AndroidPIT

How beneficial is this connection to the user?

I confess that the experience of using Nearby was quite disturbing, those who feel like turning off their smartphones and running into a dark room. However, after a while, I cannot help thinking that this is yet another resource for improving services or promoting them, and that they are already among us. Once I get to know the service better, I can see a usefulness in it, but I am still uncomfortable with the fact that this control of companies over my location and behavior.

We cannot choose the paths this technology will take, but we are part of it. We can't forget that we are masters of our actions, and if something like Nearby exceeds our privacy limits, we have to keep in mind that we don't need to activate it. Right?

We are contacting Google in Brazil to learn more about points of sale where you can already have an experience with Nearby, as soon as they send us a response, this article will be updated. However, if you have already used Nearby in your city, let us know in the comments below if you enjoyed the experience.

. (tagsToTranslate) google nearby (t) how to use google nearby (t) how to use google nearby feature