Google’s Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse

Google’s Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse

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  • Android Operating System
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Google’s new Awareness API – a part of Google Play Services – is legitimately awesome. Theoretically. Announced at I/O, it enables apps to gain access to what you are doing, inside a general sense, after which provide you with information according to that status. For the time being, the API offers two methods for apps to watch your present status, per Google’s blog publish.

  • The Snapshot API lets your application easily request details about anyone’s current context. For instance, “produce anyone’s current location and also the current climate conditionsInch.
  • A Fence API lets your application respond to alterations in user’s context – so when it matches a particular group of conditions. For instance, “let me know whenever the consumer is walking as well as their earphones are connectedInch. Like the Geofencing API, once a comprehension fence is registered, it may send callbacks for your application even if it isn’t running.

These two clearly have promise. The power for Google Be A Musician to point out a walking-appropriate playlist if you have earphones connected and therefore are moving is the kind of “providing you with what you would like before you decide to know you would like it” behavior Google continues to be striving to provide us for a long time. It is the future. The Snapshot API can use your present location – an outlet, for instance – to point out a coupon for your store. Everything sounds, to make use of the parlance in our occasions, wonderful.


But it’s not necessary to look far to determine the way a tool such as this could – and inevitably will – be absolutely mistreated by certain application developers simply searching ensure you are on their MAU rolls in order to purchase something. Certainly one of Google’s types of a “good” Awareness implementation is, I’d argue, already type of annoying. While using Awareness API, Trulia, a genuine estate application, will suggest nearby open houses the user “has an interest in” – which presumably means any listing you’ve formerly opened up. Even though this sounds fairly innocent, it can make the issues having a tool such as this apparent: all of the judgment of what’s an “appropriate” context to serve a notification lies using the application, and not the user.

Obviously, most apps allow granular disabling of notifications, and will also without doubt become certainly one of such toggles you can look to “off” inside your favorite application. But for the awesome options Awareness might allow, I am already feeling a little anxious concerning the collective “chance to learnInch we’ll have the ability to to endure because this feature’s adoption grows. Because for each largely-socialized application having a well-intentioned independent developer, there is a corporate behemoth who just examines you as citrus ripe for that contextual squeezing.

It’s unclear once the Awareness API is moving to users via Play Services (the attention API belongs to Play Services 9.2), so tell us if you notice a contextual notification like individuals in Google’s blog publish.

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