Bluetooth beacons usually only broadcast public one-way signals. By allowing secure and private communication with users, the Eddystone-EID opens up a variety of new use cases for beacons. Along with the new secure open beacon format, Google is announcing a number of new hardware partners that will make compatible devices.

The Eddystone beacons are a part of Google’s Internet of Things strategy to add technology to real world objects. Today’s announcement of Ephemeral IDs (EID) allow developers to control who can use a beacon’s signal. For example, beacons can be made so that they are only recognizable to a specific set of users.

Eddystone-EID includes a variety of security measures to prevent attacks like location spoofing and tracking. Specifically, the rotation period for a single beacon varies slightly from identifier to identifier, meaning that an attacker cannot easily identify a particular beacon. Other safety features include proximity awareness, device authentication, and data encryption of packet transmission.

Beacons are commonly used in public spaces by marketers to provide ads tailored to a user’s physical location and in stadiums during sporting events or concerts to provide relevant content and directions. There are currently 25 Eddystone beacon manufactures (up from 5 in the past year) and 15 partners have already announced support for Eddystone-EID.

Eddystone is compatible with Android and iOS, with Chrome recently updated to support interacting with beacons. Additionally, Google has launched a new app for developers to provision and register an Eddystone-EID beacon on the go.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com