When you download certain apps to your smartphone, the Google Play Store will automatically recommend some other related apps that might interest you. If your friends start reviewing certain apps, those apps might be recommended to you too. What if you could walk into a certain store and automatically be notified that said store also has an Android app that could make your shopping experience more pleasant? That's the idea behind the new Android Nearby feature.

Just announced today through the official Android blog, Android Nearby will tap into your Bluetooth, figure out your location, and recommend apps that would be relevant for where you are right now. One example that Google gives is if you happen to be walking around a CVS Pharmacy, your smartphone will buzz to let you know that you can print photos directly from your phone using the store's official app.

Another example is if you happen to be wandering around the airport with time to kill. Your phone can let you know that you should download the United Airlines app before you get on the plane so you can enjoy the free in-flight entertainment. Your phone might also tell you about the Mobile Passport app so you can skip the customs line at certain airports.


In some ways, this could be viewed as blatant advertising. While Google says that app developers simply have to "deploy beacons" for this to work with their apps, I imagine they'll gladly take some money to promote some apps over others. That being said, this could also be very convenient. Let's say you're waiting to get into a museum when your phone tells you that said museum has an app with a free audio tour. Tap the notification, get directed to the Google Play Store listing, and download at will.

Android Nearby is being offered on an opt-in basis for Android 4.4+ devices and will roll out as part of an upcoming Google Play Services update at a date yet to be determined.

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