Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) decided to scrap a product that would have used Google Maps and users' locations to send notifications to users when they entered specified locations, according to a Fortune report. Alphabet CEO Larry Page, formerly Google's chief, decided to kill the project earlier this year because it was deemed too invasive and the search giant was unsure whether retail partners would have helped Google enable the program.
The product was called Google Here, according to a document obtained by Fortune that describes the project's specifications. Dan Cath, a strategic partner manager, led the project, which spanned multiple departments and included the Google Maps team. The launch included partnerships with retailers, including Starbucks, the report said, and if it had launched, Google Here would have been available to more than 350 million Android users by early 2015, with plans to support iOS later in the year.
A Google spokesman declined to comment, the report said.
Google Here would send a notification to a smartphone user's lock screen "within five seconds of their entering a partner's location," the report said, and if the user clicked on the notification, a full screen HTLM5 "app" experience would be launched, presumably with offers and discounts. According to the report, Google Here would know when to send the notification via Google Maps and beacons placed in the stores of participating partners. Google planned to supply the beacons to partners for the launch, the report said, adding that the experience could also be found by simply going to the Google Maps app.
The project would have enabled things like sending a notification about when the next train was due to arrive when a user stepped onto a train platform; let a user pay a parking meter wirelessly after parking their car; or offering someone a discount at Starbucks if they downloaded the Starbucks app. Unlike Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iBeacon technology, Google Here would have sent notifications even if users had not yet downloaded an app tied to that specific retailer or location. As Fortune notes, Google already makes money off of the Maps app with sponsored results that show up in searches, but Google Here would have made Maps even more valuable to potential advertisers.
However, Google decided to kill the project because it was deemed too annoying and invasive to send such notifications to people through Maps and it was unclear how much demand there would be from retailers and other partners to install the beacons, even if Google provided them, the report said.
In July Google unveiled Eddystone, a new and open format for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons for anyone to use. Google has said Eddystone "supports multiple frame types for different use cases," and simplifies the introduction of new functionality to existing beacons. The format is compatible with Google's Android operating system along with Apple's iOS and any other "platform that supports BLE beacons."
- see this Fortune article
- see this The Verge article
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