Last year, Google released v2.0 of its "Nearby Connections" API, which allows for your gadgets to communicate with other devices in close proximity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It was a part of the overall "Nearby" package, which also includes a few other systems for more specific applications, including messaging and notifications. According to a pair of commits recently spotted by the folks at XDA Developers, these Nearby APIs may be coming to Chromebooks.
So far, Google's plans for Chromebooks seem to align with the previous use cases for Android tablets, so it isn't surprising to see additional Android features like the Nearby API set coming to the platform. As of last year, the Nearby package and related APIs didn't actually do a whole lot for consumer-facing products, but Google did go on at great length about potential uses in the V2.0 API announcement, including things like merging contacts, sharing phone numbers, and location-based service negotiation. Allegedly, The Weather Channel is even working to use it as a mesh network-based system for distributing weather warning announcements in the event of data loss (someday).
If it's implemented in the same way it previously was, the API should allow for communication between Chromebooks and Android devices, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. Right now Google uses it for things like setting up Google Cast and Wear devices. Still, until more products actually start using Nearby for useful stuff, it's just another way to get hit with ads.
- XDA Developers