I’ve finally had time to check out Eddystone-URL, that is covered by the Physical Web concept, in real life.
A few impressions and thoughts:
- You don’t need your own app for detecting and using Physical Web. This is no doubt the key argument, and might therefore overshadow both iBeacon and Eddystone-UID for many use cases, despite the fact that it’s not all good and not altogether true either. At least not yet.
- Once you’ve set up Physical Web, you don’t have to do anything more, except clicking on notifications and links.
- Physical Web works well with CliqTags, being fundamentally a mobile-optimized CMS.
- There’s a simple app called (fittingly) Physical Web that lets you evaluate Physical Web. Clearly, this is a prototype/interim app. The real deal is the support for Physical Web in Chrome.
- There are already many beacon suppliers that support Eddystone.
- Long term it’s likely only iBeacon and Eddystone will remain, simplifying the specification and buying process.
- Going from zero to having Physical Web working via Chrome in iOS and Android requires a number of steps that are out of the ordinary.
- No one (statistically speaking) has Chrome installed on iOS today.
- Chrome will not detect anything unless you activate Physical Web (a privacy setting). In iOS you also need to activate the notification widget.
- If you want to gamify (e.g. treasure hunts), control app behavior, and/or the app is local, either iBeacon or Eddystone-UID and use of different proximity levels are better choices. The whole point of Eddystone-URL is to access sites.
- Chrome for Android seems to ignore sites that don’t use SSL (https). Others have reported that too.
- I didn’t get Chrome for Android to detect anything anyway. The Physical Web app worked though, as well as Chrome for iOS.
- Once activated, any and all Physical Web beacons will trigger a notification, which could be annoying in the long run.
- It’s uncertain how close to a beacon you need to be for Chrome to trigger, and different scenarios require different proximities. Can it be controlled?
- Most beacons either transmit iBeacon, Eddystone-UID or Eddystone-URL. Only a few can be set up to transmit more than one of them. With USB beacons this would not be a problem. Not that this is a big issue once you’ve selected a beacon strategy, and you stick to it.
- The link in the beacon needs to go through a link replacement/shortening service anyway, as the link must be very short, as well as to avoid having to reconfigure the beacons when the site URL changes.