Beacons weren't born with Apple iBeacon
All the Beacon BLE phenomenon exploted since Apple introduced the iBeacon support on iOS 7. However, all the Bluetooth Low Energy technology and the possibility of creating stand-alone devices emmiting its own ID 24/7, were available before the iBeacon support on iOS. Most modern Android Phones have the necessary hardware and software to detect BLE Beacons, however Android does not provide developers the tools to facilitate the work in order to create an App that does not drain the battery (except in the not-yet-released Android L), like iOS does.
The Google solution
Google is aware of the need to provide a native support for Beacon scanning and discovery, so they have dramatically improved Bluetooth Low Energy beacon detection on the latest iteration of the Android Operating System (Android L). This version of the OS will allow developers to rely on the OS the beacon detection , like iOS does. However, Android will provide more flexibility to developers regarding the kind of beacons detected. The main problem about going with Google solution is that it will be available only for the L version of Android. A version that has not been released yet and due to the nature of this operating system, its market share will not be relevant until a year from now, taking into account the adoption rate of the latest released version (KitKat).