Google’s ‘Physical Web’ loses the Chrome browser
The company's vision of beacons broadcasting URLs to its browser bites the dust, but URLs into Android’s Nearby remains.
A browser-based Physical Web has evaporated.
The Physical Web was a Google trial where beacons broadcast their URLs to the Chrome browser.
The main advantage over regular beacons — like Apple’s iBeacon — was that you didn’t need a supporting mobile app in order to see beacon-based local information.
Instead, you could see website links from beacons supporting Google’s Eddystone URL protocol right in the Chrome browser. Introduced in 2014 by Google, the expressed concept was: “Walk up and use anything.” As the company noted on a web page with that heading:
“Walk up and interact with any object — a parking meter, a toy, a poster — or location — a bus stop, a museum, a store — without installing an app first. Interactions are only a tap away. See web pages associated with the space around you. Choose the page most useful to you.
But Google has pulled part of the plug on that vision.