Apple iBeacon vs Google Eddystone

Google Eddystone

Good news

Eddystone has arrived to boost the proximity market and paves the way for a world full of context-aware applications. Google has addressed all the flaws detected by the community in the Apple iBeacon specification, meaning that even more companies and developers are going to create useful products using all the expertise that has been gathered over the last two years.

Differences

These are the key features that Eddystone brings:

  • Unique ID: It does not have the same number hierarchy (UUID, major, minor) that iBeacon has, but it is a very similar concept. Eddystone can broadcast a unique ID that will be received by any mobile device in the vicinity.
  • Broadcast URL: Google has included / merged the physical web project into the Eddystone protocol, meaning that beacons can communicate with things directly, without the need of a supporting infrastructure behind them, effectively helping to create a decentralized network of devices that are able to communicate with our mobile phones.
  • Telemetry: Each of the most relevant Bluetooth Beacon manufacturers so far send information about the beacon such as the battery level in a proprietary format, meaning that if you wanted to read this information, you had to consult the manufacturer docs in order to do so. Google, on the other hand, has standardized the way information is sent by the beacon as part of the Eddystone protocol.

Proximity Beacon API

Another important feature is the introduction of the Google Proximity Beacon API. It is a public beacon database from Google were anyone can store information related to a particular device, so now more than ever, we are going to be seeing more and more networks of public beacons created and shared with the world.

This also allows the beacon owners to manage information without having to change anything in the beacon itself, adding flexibility to the Eddystone protocol.

Google has also included latitude and longitude fields to the beacons stored in the cloud, so in the near future when there are enough beacons deployed in venues, it is more than likely that Google Maps will include Bluetooth Beacon detection to improve indoor location.

Future

We are implementing the Eddystone protocol in the Android SDK and have some really cool ideas for Eddystone in our roadmap.

During the upcoming months, the market should validate all the ideas behind Eddystone and after this new technology takes hold, we are sure it will be more widely adopted than iBeacon was in 2013.

No news so far on what Apple’s next move regarding the proximity market will be… but it would no doubt be beneficial for everyone if they decided to support Eddystone in the future… who knows…