location services

Big surprise: Facebook will eventually push ads with “Nearby Friends”

Big surprise: Facebook will eventually push ads with “Nearby Friends”

Facebook plans to eventually use its new "Nearby Friends" feature to power new location-based adverts and marketing, the social network has conceded, potentially souring what was generally seen as a privacy-mindful launch of the functionality. Nearby Friends began rolling out last week as a new addition to Facebook's mobile apps, optionally showing those on your friendslist your location, and making it easier to organize impromptu meet-ups. However, Facebook has more in mind than promoting socializing.

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Facebook Nearby Friends tentatively tracks friendslist

Facebook Nearby Friends tentatively tracks friendslist

Facebook has added a new feature to its mobile apps, Nearby Friends, allowing users of the social network to find those on their friendslist when they're nearby, though Facebook is clearly wary of a privacy backlash. The feature, which will be rolled out to the Android and iOS apps over the coming weeks, shows your GPS position and that of your friends on a map; however, Facebook is turning it off by default, and relying on users to opt-in instead.

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Apple outs iBeacon specs (and they’re Android-agnostic)

Apple outs iBeacon specs (and they’re Android-agnostic)

Apple has detailed its specifications for iBeacon, its Bluetooth LE indoor location-based services platform, though exact details of the system are still locked down by the Cupertino firm's demands for secrecy. The specifications have been released under NDA, BEEKn reports, though according to information from those familiar with them predominantly concern how iBeacon devices will be branded, not how they are technically different from other Bluetooth LE transmitters.

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Broadcom location chip promises longer wearables and true-AR

Broadcom location chip promises longer wearables and true-AR

Location-based services and contextual augmented-reality on your smartglasses is fun, but not if they drain power so fast you only get a couple of hours of use from them. Broadcom believes it has the answer with its new BCM4771 GNSS SoC, a super-low-power chip to add location and health tracking to wearables while cutting battery consumption by 75-percent compared to existing positioning chips. It's a system that not only should make fitness trackers and smartwatches run for longer, but open the door to true augmented-reality headsets.

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Philips LED lights flicker out a challenge to iBeacon and Gimbal

Philips LED lights flicker out a challenge to iBeacon and Gimbal

Philips has its own plans for location-based services in stores and entertainment venues, eschewing low-power Bluetooth by instead using LED lighting that can communicate with a smartphone app and guide customers around. Dubbed Intelligent Lighting, the connected retail lighting system not only illuminates the store, as you'd expect, but acts as a positioning grid which the smartphone can use to figure out where it is currently.

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Brighter beacons: Up close with Qualcomm’s Gimbal for Apple Stores

Brighter beacons: Up close with Qualcomm’s Gimbal for Apple Stores

With Gimbal, Qualcomm has a device that breaks quite a few molds. Open source, secure, and conceptually cool, Gimbal has the ability to actually make a difference in your day-to-day life. If you’re one to shop at an Apple Store, chances are you already know just how sublimely smooth the Gimbal experience can be. We sat down with Kevin Hunter, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Product Management for Retail Solutions, to find out just how Gimbal makes it happen, both for retailers and consumers.

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Automatic update turns cars into mobile Apple iBeacons

Automatic update turns cars into mobile Apple iBeacons

Automatic has updated its Bluetooth smart driving assistant to turn it into an Apple iBeacon, potentially allowing cars to communicate with stores, restaurants, and other venues as they drive past. The new tweak, added in a recent firmware up for the dongle, expands Automatic from its current role feeding MPG, speed, and other data to a nearby smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0, adopting Apple's location-based platform.

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Qualcomm Gimbal takes on Apple iBeacon for micro-location

Qualcomm Gimbal takes on Apple iBeacon for micro-location

Qualcomm has launched Gimbal, its take on Apple's iBeacon, a system of context-aware proximity beacons intended for shopping, social networking, mobile services, and more. Using small, battery powered Bluetooth dongles which create localized hotspots to interact with iOS and - eventually - Android devices, Qualcomm says Gimbal can push product information, sports team details, topical adverts, and other content whenever a smartphone comes into range, just as iBeacon promises only with eventual cross-platform support.

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