The Play Store offers over one million apps – many of which are created to be used in specific locations or situations. The right app at the right moment lets you get more done. For example, at a store, you may want a barcode scanner to check prices and reviews for an item. Or when you’re at a museum, an audio tour would enhance the experience as you make your way around the exhibits.
But, getting the right apps at the right time can be tough if you don’t already know about them. So, we’re introducing a new Android feature called Nearby, which notifies you of of things that can be helpful near you.
Download the United Airlines app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate, before you board your flight.
Select Google devices, including Google Cast and Android Wear watches, will also let you set them up simply by tapping a notification when you’re near them.
Earlier this year, we started experimenting with surfacing websites relevant to a place in Chrome through the Physical Web project. In addition to displaying relevant apps, Nearby will surface these websites directly from Android. To deploy your own beacons that work with Nearby, check out our developer blog post.
To use Nearby, just turn on Bluetooth and Location, and we’ll show you a notification if a nearby app or website is available. Once you’ve opted-in, tapping on a notification takes you straight into the intended experience. If you’re not interested, just swipe it away to give us a clear signal.
Nearby has started rolling out to users as part of the upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above.
Mobile connectivity is central to everything we do. The speed and consistency of our network determines whether we can share a photo with a loved one or get that split-second answer when we need it most. With Project Fi, you can get the highest quality connection at all times – whether on Wi-Fi or one of our partner cellular networks. Today, we’re excited to introduce U.S. Cellular as our newest partner network.
U.S. Cellular, one of the top mobile networks in the U.S., offers service in 23 states with 4G LTE coverage for more than 99% of their subscribers, both urban and rural. With the addition of a third network, Project Fi now gives you more coverage and speed, helping you stay connected wherever you are.
How does this work? In most areas, multiple cellular networks are available — in fact, the majority of Project Fi usage occurs in areas where more than one of our partners offers LTE coverage. But factors like obstructions from nearby buildings can meaningfully impact the speed and coverage available from each LTE connection. By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location — down to the city block — and automatically connect you. We’re constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly-available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds.
Part of Project Fi’s promise is to ensure you have connection when you need it, even in areas with poor speeds or limited coverage. Your Fi device recognizes when your connection is weak and adjusts in real time. By accessing multiple cellular networks, Fi users have a connection nearly 99% of the time, and spend about 95% of cellular time on LTE — which will improve even further with the addition of U.S. Cellular.
U.S. Cellular coverage will be automatically rolling out to all users over the coming weeks. We’re excited to add our third partner and hope you’ll join us, too.
Posted by Evan Jacobs, Product Manager, Project Fi
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