What is Project Beacon?

Project Beacon will provide a signal which will help Google understand a user’s location. Understanding a users location will allow Google services to create a user experience based on the user’s proximity.

What is a beacon and how do they work?

A beacon is a device that projects a Bluetooth signal to a nearby electronic device such as a smartphone. They can be easily installed in plain-view or discreetly. For beacons which will work with Google Services, they must be in Eddystone.

Eddystone is the name of the software, but there are many brands of beacon hardware manufactures. Eddystone comes in four mainframes:

  • Eddystone-UID – this triggers push notifications or an app to perform an action, this is similar to Proximity UUID from iBeacon. An example of when this may happen is a user is walking past a shop. The user has this shop’s app installed on their phone. The user get a notification on their phone to show they have a discount which can be taken advantage of.
  • Eddystone-URL – this causes a web page to be fired when in close. This could be used for walking past a poster which has a beacon broadcasting an Eddystone-URL, if you approach it and pull up your phone, you would get a notification and a link to advertiser would load.
  • Eddystone-TLM - data obtained by sensors. This could be used to control temperature and humidity of a warehouse.
  • Eddystone-EID - Eddystone EID is the secure variant of Eddystone UID.

How will the program work?

Providing the user shares their location the beacon signal can help a device determine the users location. This will enhance a user’s experience by Google services being able to provide the user with more relevant and personalised results. If users choose not to share their location, beacon signals won’t be used.

How does this benefit businesses?

Having a beacon will improve your local presence due to new features being unlocked which Google had indicated will include:

  • Users being prompting to review your business, update information and add photos.
  • Improving the business’ visibility on Google Maps for users who have visited the store location. For this to happen, the user must have location history turned on.
  • Popular times and visit durations will be more accurate.
  • Business’ will receive location insights which will include an aggregated view of popular time statistics, visit duration and repeat customer percentage.

What is the impact?

We can start to connect online advertising directly to offline actions. For example: By using Google’s Beacons we can connect the signals to a Google AdWords account meaning that we can serve Google search ads and tie this up with how many online users walk into store, or even to a specific section of the store ultimately gathering more insight into the return on investment of PPC ads. Sign your business up for a free beacon.

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