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Google unveils platform-independent alternative to Apple's iBeacon, dubbed Eddystone

Google on Tuesday announced Eddystone, an open-source beacon platform that may provide competition for Apple's iBeacon standard used by some businesses and attractions, including Apple Stores.




Like iBeacon, Eddystone —an evolution of Google's failed UriBeacon —will communicate with devices via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to pop up information on compatible devices when they're within close range. A bus stop beacon, for instance, might offer transit times, something Google has already set up for Android phones in Portland, Oregon.

Eddystone however is completely platform-agnostic, and Google has published Github resources as well two APIs for both iOS and Android, Nearby and Proximity Beacon. The former allows apps to find and communicate with beacons, while the latter helps developers associate a location and other data with each point.

Google said it currently doesn't plan to charge for Eddystone, and has already collaborated with Bluvision, Estimote, Kontakt.io, Radius Networks, and Signal360 to build the technology into their beacons.

For large-scale deployments Google has produced a free management tool, and as needed developers can take Eddystone telemetry and build their own dashboards and services on top of it.

If backed by developers Eddystone could present a serious threat to iBeacon, which only works with iOS devices dating back to 2011's iPhone 4S.