A couple of weeks ago we received a small package from Project Beacon with a Google address on it. When we opened it we found the beacon itself and some very simple to follow instructions. Upon checking twitter and other popular channels we noticed a lot of people asking what all this is about.
Here is the box it came in:
Here you can see the beacon itself it’s not big at all and has a double sided adhesive strip on the bottom:
And the simple package contents with the manual:
I found an online help document which leads to the Set up your Bluetooth beacon page which describes why Google is doing this beacon project and explains what they are.
“Beacons can help improve the location information Google provides to you and your customers. The beacon is a small, Bluetooth device that sends a one-way signal to a user’s phone without capturing any information about the user. If a user shares their location, the beacon signal can help the user’s phone determine their location more accurately. When a user’s phone has a better understanding of where they are and if they’ve visited your store, you can unlock a variety of new features to improve their experience and your local business presence”
It also provided us with the reason for these random devices appearing in our mailboxes
“In most cases, businesses receive beacons after requesting them from Google. If you weren’t expecting to receive a beacon and need help setting it up, you can contact your operations department. If need be, ask them to reach out to their Google sales representative for more information.We’re sending some beacons to businesses who’ve used our advertising services, and are likely to benefit to from location features. If you don’t want to use your beacon, you can dispose of it. Keep in mind, disposing of your beacon may impact your eligibility for Project Beacon in the future”
Reading this it would appear that if you have used any of Googles advertising services you are likely to receive on one of these. It appears its function is providing more pinpoint accuracy of a user’s location, especially when indoors. Technically it’s a glorified proximity sensor.
Setting up the beacon:
According to the manual upon removing it from the box the beacon automatically turns itself on… Pretty cool huh! From there it’s as simple as peeling back the adhesive strip and sticking it somewhere in your building. Google recommends that you stick this little device as close as you can get to the centre of your building. We placed ours on the frame of our skylight.
Once you’ve placed it in a location and you’re happy with it open your favourite web browser and navigate to the Google Beacon Activation Form.
You will then be asked to enter the code which should be on the top of the box which you received the device in.
Once you have filled in the form that is all there is to it and you can continue going about your day. Of course you do not have to set them up you can always dispose of them although Google says if you do so you will not be invited to future beacon projects.
What’s your thoughts ? Let us know.