Introduction to the Physical Web (100 days of Google Dev)
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Introduction to the Physical Web (100 days of Google Dev)

[MUSIC PLAYING] What a great looking movie. When’s the next showing? Can I see a preview? [TROMBONE BLOWING] Nowadays, nearly
everyone has the internet in their pocket and access
to the world’s information at their fingertips. However, getting and interacting
with that information isn’t always easy. So where did I put
that bar code scanner? Do I even have a bar
code scanner on here? [TROMBONE FAIL SOUND] However, if we believe
in Moore’s law at all, we can project that
there are going to be millions of smart devices
in our homes, in our work, and everywhere in between. Accessing functionality
from these devices can be just like using the web. You just walk up, tap, and go. Cool. There’s a show in
just a few minutes. [VICTORY SOUND] Hello, I’m Scott Jenson, and
this is the Physical Web. So how does this work? The poster is using a
Bluetooth low energy beacon to broadcast a URL
once every second. The device here can run for
five years on a single charge. There’s a simple scanner on
the phone that looks around whenever you wake it up. It won’t do any scanning if
the phone is in your pocket. The user must always ask to
see if anything is nearby. If the scanner
discovers something, it’ll give you a
list to choose from, ranked and filtered, to reduce
spam, and bring the most relevant content to the top. You select a web
page, and it opens, just like clicking
on a search result. One of the reasons we use
URLs is that they are very well understood and flexible. They can point to a simple web
page with information, a more interactive web app,
or could even deep link into a native
application in your phone. As these beacons are really
just small computers, the URLs can even
dynamically change, reflecting a sensor value or
even an authentication token. Check out this
parking meter example. The user walks up
to it and pulls out their phone to see a
list of nearby devices. They tap on the parking meter
and are taken to a web page. They just add the time
they want and hit Pay. All of the billing is
taken care of in the cloud. And once that’s done, it
just authorizes the meter. So what’s happening here? The Physical Web URL points to
a web page on a standard web server that connects
to a small controller here, inside the parking meter. When the purchase
goes through, it uses a WebSocket to
message the board, which then adds the time. While the movie poster took you
on a journey from the beacon, to the phone, and then
straight to the web, here, the parking meter completes
the loop interacting directly with the machine
right in front of you. All just using standard
web technologies. I want to stress
this just a bit. The Physical Web is only about
getting the URL to the phone. Everything else after that
is just using the web. In this example,
all of the real work is done by using WebSockets. That’s the idea behind
the Physical Web. Objects can broadcast
URLs wirelessly to the area around them. Anyone with a phone or a tablet
nearby can scan the area, pick an object, and interact
with it on the spot. Unlike most apps
today, the Physical Web enables very small interactions,
things that you’d never consider using an app for. A dog collar can let
you find its owner. A bus stop could tell you
when the next bus is coming. You could rent a
bike, get a mall map, or even watch a new tutorial
on a new home appliance. The web is powerful
because it works so well for the long tail. Nearly anything could
have its own web page. The value of the
web is having access to millions of small web pages. This same power can be
applied to smart devices and even places. Each one of these
Physical Web interactions is moderately useful,
but taken together, they demonstrate how letting
everything be interactive opens up a new long tail
of ephemeral interaction for the entire world around us. The Physical Web is just an
extension of the existing web. Like all web
technologies, it’s open and anybody can build on it. Because it uses URLs as
the core building block, the entire system
is decentralized, so nobody controls it. With the discovery of web
pages made frictionless, we’re excited to see what kind
of next generation experiences developers like you will
build on top of the web. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]


  • Joshua Seitz

    This is neat! It reminds me of Michio Kaku's talk, "The World in 2030" where he says something along the lines of computer chips in 2020 will cost about $.01 and will be scattered all over. Is that beacon on track to being really cheap?

  • Elwin Arens

    Not seeing this happen, sorry. This technology does not fix what's most broken with a QR-code or any similar technology: it gives you a resource without fully knowing what that resource will provide (will the interaction deliver?). Often the information behind a QR-code has been disappointing and very sales oriented. One of the big strengths of the web is the control, or sense of control, you have over what information you consume. This is just not possible with communication specialists providing you links to information they want you to read.
    The example of the parking meter is poor for where i live (The Netherlands) as we're already adopting RFID in our payment cards. No need to adopt a new technology and/or service for making payments when it is easily done with my card (visiting a web page adds a trivial step to the interaction!). It's called 'contactless payment'. Not sure if it's a good translation.

    So one this does not solve the QR-code issue and two de facto payment technology is already catching up and requires no adoption at all.

    My 2 cents.

  • Mike Downes

    everyone, i say everyone should watch this as lays down some dirt simple theory on how the tech stuff becomes frictionless .. coffee drinkers, pet owners, movie goers .. it matters little in the long tail of stuff .. presented by @Scott Jenson with some really carefully crafted sentences that make total sense – really is a video to watch again and again..

  • Mike Trieu

    Great, we once had NFC-triggered URL 0day and now you just have to be in the general vicinity. This should be fun.

  • SLe Pine

    Is this not just an electronic QR code?
    I have long believed QR codes are poorly implemented where they are used and unimplemented where they should be used. A parking meter is a perfect example where cities with smart meters could through a unique QR code on each one thereby linking the user to the specific meter to pay for parking.

  • virtualCableTV

    This video was very timely and well articulated so non-technical people could understand that is being conveyed however Scott Jenson does us all a great disservice by telling lies of omission.

    That being no discussion in the presentation regarding the role of NFC in the exact same context and applications BLE is being promoted. As I say in other comments I consider NFC and BLE to be complimentary each of which over-comes the shortcomings of the other.

  • Adrian Crețu

    I made an Android app for Nexus 6 / 9 that enables you to transform your phone into an Physical Web beacon, basically you can share an URL to anyone around you. I have some ideas for future usages, and I'm open to feedback.

  • Mbuyi Kande

    Hi! +Scott Jenson

    Hope you're well. You're doing a great work! I have some concerns that i want to share with you. See below:

    1. It seems that the Current Physical Web App does not provide the Notification Sounds, When the app detects nearby beacons, How can we solve this sound problem?

    2. What is the prediction of Physical Web Integration in the Android O.S? I tested Physical Web with Eddystone, Estimote, Blesh and Beacons. There are a dependence of bluetooth connection (to be to be enabled) on the part of end users.

    I don't think it is very sustainable, mainly for the market as Africa.


  • youtubasoarus

    Great idea, what about security? Buffer overflow? Injection? Fake URL's? There are so many a-holes out there who will buy similar looking BT devices and create fake URL's forwarding to compromised sites (ie. honey pots). Are these going to be filtered? Part of a "trusted web" or something? Who will do the filtering? Will they use SSL or some similar technology? Will google offer such a service for say "trusted devices" so our phones automatically ignore the URL's ?

    All of these things are always fantastic ideas, just wonder about the security. It's always an issue and usually shortly after a release of such a product it's compromised and within seconds your phone is going off to some untrusted site, getting itself a virus and giving access/control to some kid in China or India or wherever.

  • Michal Novák

    The idea is brilliant, but any kind of battery life is ultimately not enough – because I assume in majority of those beacons for general use nobody would charge or replace them. It should be more like RFID chips, where the device powers a beacon itself.

  • Karicat Watts

    I don't think this will ever make sense to me. I mean I don't think I will ever understand this. Its seems simple yet my mind wants to believe it's complicated to learn. Definitely complex. I imagine it's like the first few months working with a computer on my desk. You get used to it. And stop trying to think you need to understand everything about the technology that makes it work. Accept "because" as the answer . Still, I don't foresee myself ever being that "together" in the "smart" world. But this is cool. It's also a little eerie at the same time. At the other same time I acknowledge the brains behind it and commend its parents.
    I'll probably go out and the next thing I do will require this. Then I'll be buying the Bluetooth and using this like what…. No, I don't like change. Even if my generation is the one responsible for bringing this technology and change out. It can open your world up and close it in as well. I'll keep my mind open.
    Thanks for letting me practice my freedom of speech while I still can. Bless…

  • Go!Mobile Tours by Brant

    +Scott Jenson When might I use this technology versus GPS, which leads me to a point of interest's business page or website organized by type using Google Maps "Explore Around You?"


    ojalá que es el número de cuenta de correo electrónico en busca de una de cortesía de Emergencias Local la información contenida para cliente taco villa de ruta Maneadero completa de la mañana a ver si me puede ayudar a dejar de fumar ya está mi esposa es de tres recamaras y y

  • Jens Bröcher

    It's too complicated to use for the end user. it should be enabled by default and not require that Bluetooth is enabled.

  • Pierre Kerchner

    so "nearby" can push content to nearby users? even, if they don't have "my" app installed? … I spent some days on it … not working … far away from "working" 🙁 (with accent beacons)

  • S S J

    Hai, i wanna ask something, let's say i see a banner that have beacon in it, then it sends the notification to my phone right? But what if i'm not opening it and move away from the banner, will the physical web notif still be there and i can open it later?

  • Max Waterman

    Yes, you do have a bar code scanner. If it is iOS, open the camera an point it at the code…click…done. If it is Android, long-press the home button and click bottom right (of course, Google in their infinite(simal) wisdom made it only work while online (unlike Apple or Samsung). Even Chrome on iOS has a qr-code scanner built in. Samsung have a bar code scanner built into their Android browser too. WeChat has one. It's all really easy and used many times every day by almost everyone in China. Not difficult guys.
    2015…ah, ok…perhaps not so much back then.

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