Google Nearby alternative: Why NearBee is better and superior
Sneh Ratna Choudhary
Last Updated:  June 19, 2019
Google Nearby: The journey so far
On June 9, 2016, Google announced a new feature called ‘Nearby’ on all Android devices that was intended to lead the end-user to open or download an app and know more about things nearby. The idea was to serve the end-user with hyperlocal and contextual apps and information.
So, what went wrong?
Google Nearby started to become a constant source of annoyance leading several users to turn the service off. Hack-it together marketers and MLMs began to see this as an opportunity to just send out messages rather than laying emphasis on the end user’s experience. Initially, when users did not know what it was, it may have worked. But as the users grew aware of Nearby and grew tired of the constant spamming, they began to turn the service off and ultimately ignore all such notifications.
What does the end of Google Nearby mean?
All Android users will stop receiving Nearby Notifications on December 6, 2018. Google will stop delivering Nearby and Physical Web notifications to Android phones.
But, here’s what will live on:
The Eddystone protocol and Physical Web are not going anywhere. The capabilities of Eddystone that made the experience for the end-user much better are very much alive. Physical Web is going to thrive too. That is precisely why we can offer two great alternatives to Google Nearby that work much better.
Google Nearby Alternative #1
For small and medium businesses who do not wish to invest in an app: NearBee is the best choice
What is NearBee?
NearBee scans for all beacons in an area and displays notifications on the Android smartphone. We had initially released NearBee on iOS to allow the end-user to download one app instead of 20 or 30 apps that would show them all beacon notifications instantly.
NearBee is hardware agnostic, which means even if you don’t have beacons from Beaconstac, you can still use our app to detect and display beacons.
How does NearBee work and what can you do with it?
NearBee scans for Physical Web beacons and displays those notifications on smartphones. It works exactly like Google Nearby, but with richer and more enhanced capabilities.
NearBee delivers notifications straight to the lock screen
The problem with Google Nearby was that notifications did not appear on the lock screen if a user had dismissed them or if a lot of users had not found a particular notification useful. The algorithm behind which Nearby Notification was promoted was never clear to anyone. With NearBee, every notification makes it to the lock screen.
NearBee delivers non-silent notifications
Another issue that a lot of proximity marketers faced was the fact that Nearby Notifications did not alert the user in any way. There was no vibration, no alert, nothing that would cause the user to look down and check their phones.
NearBee does not deliver duplicate notifications
The main reason Android users were put off by Nearby Notifications was that most advertisers set the advertising interval to the minimum causing a consumer who was in the same location for a while to receive the same notification over and over again. NearBee does not do that. It waits until a user re-enters a location to send them notifications which makes the user’s experience less annoying.
NearBee delivers extremely rich notifications
Another issue with Google Nearby was that it merely showed a Title and Description on the smartphone which did not indicate to users in many cases what the notification was for. With NearBee, users will be able to see the entirety of the campaign. Aesthetically pleasing visuals, eye-catching logo, and a powerful CTA all delivered to the user.
For brands, business and proximity marketing solution providers that want to build/use an app:
Creating an app to run proximity marketing campaigns has always been a great idea. This lets the user choose to download the app signaling their acceptance to receive marketing campaigns.
Use the Eddystone protocol
You can create an app from scratch with a developer’s help using the Eddystone protocol and subsequently run your proximity marketing campaigns.
Integrate NearBee SDK
If you already have an existing app, you can transform it into a beacon-enabled app by simpling integrating the NearBee SDK in just a few lines of code.
NearBee – App within an app
A future scheduled update of NearBee will allow the in-app colors, logos and content to morph into a particular’s business unique branding
Why downloading an app is the answer to no more Proximity Marketing spam
The whole point of marketing and proximity marketing at that is to ensure that the end-user finds it relevant. With Nearby’s service, it became all too easy to forget the consumer. Since Nearby was turned on by default in all Android phones, the user had no choice but to be bombarded by messages irrespective of their relevancy. With an app in the picture, consumers choose to receive marketing content. 2 in 5 consumers like to receive targeted ads and location plays a huge role in relevance. Whether they choose to download a brand app or NearBee to get notified of all the businesses in the vicinity, their experience is bound to be more tailored and rich. 70% of millennials try out new apps every month. 75% of customers scour their inboxes looking for a good deal.
Watch our webinar where we discuss viable solutions for the future of proximity marketing through beacons
Why we should be glad that Google Nearby is dead
It may not seem like it at this point but the fact that Google is killing Nearby off is actually a good thing. Nearby Notifications had some pretty strict editorial standards which made it hard for marketers to actually get their message raised to a notification, leading to some pretty disappointing CTRs. Not to mention, once a user turned off Nearby, they would no longer receive notifications.
Google also came under fire last year when they admitted to storing location data even when the location permission was off on both Android and iPhones. That is a gross violation of the end user’s privacy which may have also led to consumers turning off Nearby as they probably thought that beacons may also be tracking them.
If you don’t pay for a product, you are the product.
Fortunately, our beacons do not collect any personally identifiable information and neither do we need to. We simply aim to serve the end-user with contextual and hyperlocal content while providing marketers and businesses a channel to do so.
Some FAQs about Google Nearby discontinuation and NearBee
Will all Android users stop receiving messages or only the new ones?
All Android users – old and new – will stop receiving Nearby Notifications on December 6, 2018.
Are my beacons useless?
Absolutely not. Beacons can be used to run proximity marketing campaigns either through NearBee or your own app.
Can I still run proximity marketing campaigns with beacons?
Yes. You can continue to use Beaconstac beacons with your own app or NearBee.
How will a user interact with NearBee?
Users will see rich notifications on their lock screen and upon clicking them, they will be taken to the URL attached to the notification.
Can I do everything on NearBee that I could with Google Nearby?
Yes. In fact, we will soon add more features to NearBee to make it much better than Google Nearby ever was.
Is NearBee free for users?
Yes. It is 100% free for the end-user.
How can I start using NearBee with my non-Beaconstac beacons?
There are some requirements that need to be met for NearBee to detect non-Beaconstac beacons. Please read our blog post that will help you transition from Nearby to NearBee.
Talk to us to know more about how you can leverage NearBee to run your proximity marketing campaigns. Or, if you’re looking for a solution that has no mandatory app requirement, we recommend this.
Sneh is a Content Marketing Manager at Beaconstac. When she’s not obsessing over customized QR Codes, she can be found fawning over dogs or bingeing on Netflix. To discuss content marketing or anything else under the sun, reach out to her on Twitter or LinkedIn.