If any single obstacle is holding beacons back from their true potential, it's the lack of a uniform platform for the technology to reach the maximum number of users. Now, it seems like Google might have given beacons just what they need.
Google announced Wednesday (Feb. 10) that it would be adding beacon support to Chrome for Android 49. Calling the beacon networks that customers are likely to encounter the "Physical Web," the tech giant explained how users would be given the option to opt into push notifications through seamless notifications within their mobile Chrome browsers, which could eliminate much of the friction experienced when customers have to navigate each individual brand's app to score the best deals.
Google will be running its beacon for Chrome program in a beta stage for four to eight weeks, in which university researchers from the across the country are invited to stress test the platform for any bugs before a wider release. Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist, and Google researcher Max Senges explained in a blog post how the Internet of Things Technology Research Award Pilot would solve several of the most pressing obstacles in the way of beacons' future.
"We invite you to submit proposals in which Google IoT technologies are used to (1) explore interesting use cases and innovative user interfaces, (2) address technical challenges, as well as interoperability between devices and applications, or (3) experiment with new approaches to privacy, safety and security," the Google officials explained.
The timing couldn't be better for beacons, as Chrome for Android became the world's most popular mobile Web browser when it edged out Safari in Nov. 2015, according to NetMarketShare. If beacons were waiting for the right dance partner to come along, they'll have to take care not to step on any toes as Google works with them over the next few months.