Google Android Chrome Gets Physical — But Still Digital — With Eddystone Beacon Support

The proximity marketing space just got more room for connecting mobile consumers with offline retailers and brands.

Google continued to expand the concept of the “Physical Web Experience” last week as the search giant extends its support for its Eddystone beacon platform to version 49 of its mobile browser, Chrome for Android.

The addition of Google’s Android browser to the beaconsystem is a fairly large, if obvious, step after it introduced the same proximity marketing capabilities for its Chrome for iOS app on Apple iPhones.

Now, Physical Web developers can reach Chrome for Android users as well, starting with the Beta channel and rolling out more widely soon,”Ani Mohan, Physical Web Voyager, wrote on Google’s Chrome blog. “When these users walk by a beacon for the first time, they’ll receive a notification allowing them to enable the Physical Web. On future encounters with beacons, users can quickly see a list of nearby URLs by tapping on a non-vibrating notification waiting for them.”

Although Google’s full dive into beacons with Eddystone happened barely seven months ago — a good two years after Apple sparked the revolution in indoor marketing with its iBeacon — the impact has has been swift. Given that Android represents over 80 percent of the global smartphone market, Google’s absence was sharply felt up to that point.

Aside from Android’s mobile scale, the incorporation of Scott Jensen’s UriBeacon-based Physical Web project into Eddystone, Google has further been able to close the loop around the Apple-centric app universe and the browser-based web, which remains Google’s primary strength due to its search functions and related AdWords products.

Google’s decision to support beacons with Chrome for Android is yet another signal of the pivotal role that location signals will play in connecting the physical and digital worlds, noted Hilmi Ozguc, co-founder & CEO of beacon marketing platform provider Swirl.

“All of the major players in advertising, technology, social media and retail are making significant investments in establishing capabilities that will allow them to participate in the proximity marketing ecosystem,” Ozguc told GeoMarketing. “These new capabilities will allow them to not only deliver value for consumers, but also create a powerful new understanding of consumer behaviors and preferences that can be used to deliver more personalized omnichannel experiences.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.