back to article Google reveals rapid Bluetooth gadget connection tech

Google's announced a new Bluetooth tweak called “Fast Pair”. The tech is conceptually simple: an Android device Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) gets the job of advertising and discovery, then ye olde Bluetooth handles pairing. The guts of it are of course more complicated. For starters, Bluetooth devices need to be built to run …

  1. m0rt Silver badge

    "Android devices need to have Bluetooth and location services turned on. A trip to Google's cloud is required, too,"

    Sigh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You know that every android device has the option to opt out of all Google stuff. Its clearly presented during device setup. Just don't expect to be able to use this, or any other Google services on your device, and your source of apps would have to be somewhere else like FDroid. However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all.... Your choice, but you cant get the nice "free" stuff without giving up some privacy. Its very simple and very clear and I think a reasonable trade. 2bn other people do too it seems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

        Of course that's correct. Your posting history gives us all the context we need to decide how trustworthy that statement is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

          AC2, how can you the posting history of AC1 unless you work for ElReg?

          1. m0rt Silver badge

            Re: re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

            AC3 - AC2's statement was sarcastic, based on the fact AC1 was anonymous. Which leads us to assume, based on stereotype analysis, that he is UK based, and you are US based.

            Hey - profiling based on actions on the net! I should patent that and form a company and .... ohhhhhhhh....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

          Don't t me, but read the Google Terms and Conditions, it's all there in black and white. Are you really stupid enough to think someone hasn't already wiresharked a opted out device to see if they are in violation of their claims? EU would have a field day if they were...

          It's very simple, you understand the terms, opt in or opt out, it's your choice. Does iOS let you opt out? Nope.... if you use the device, you have to agree, there is no base service that allows you to use your iphone, but not have Apple slurp....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

            Wow the Google shill is in full force today.

            Why post as AC? Going by your other posts in comments it's pretty easy to establish your pattern.

            Maybe Google's bots are not so clever after all.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: However if you do opt out, nothing gets sent to Google at all....

            Is this the same Google I have to sign up with in order to ask them not to track my information?

            As I said to your other post. Did I consent to google tracking me on this website BEFORE they planted their tracking (well if I didn't actively block it)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Your choice, but you cant get the nice "free" stuff without giving up some privacy. Its very simple and very clear and I think a reasonable trade. 2bn other people do too it seems.

        No. They just go for the least expensive option available which does the job. At least 90% of them have no idea what they give up when they do, and don't have neither the skills nor the resources to do anything about it if they did.

        Many - including myself - might choose to pay if it means not giving up their privacy. Unfortunately, too many companies have realized that they can first charge their customers an arm and a leg, then take their private data as well - so the option of paying for your privacy is rapidly disappearing for most of us.

        Yes, I am looking at you, Sonos.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Google offer this pay option, it's GApps, sign in with one of these accounts, and there is no slurp.

          Apple just charge extra and still slurp, and don't offer either a free opt out (cancel the Google sign-in and use your Android device without Google services), nor do they offer a pay GApps either.

      3. Mage Silver badge
        Flame

        Opting out.

        every android device has the option to opt out of all Google stuff. Its clearly presented during device setup.

        Not true.

        a) it becomes a feature phone at best if a phone

        b) Android TV: Accept all these T&C or don't tune the TV set, or set it up at all! At least true on the 4K Sony. Fortunately I only want to play PC/phone/Tablet/VHS/DVD/BD and watch off air Telly on it, so the network is never being connected.

        c) Google and WiFi slurp while street view, or reading 3rd party emails: Can anyone actually believe what they claim anyway?

    2. fuzzie

      "Fast", you say. So instead of a local radio and protocol handshake, you're now inserting additional 150ms (if I'm fortunate) cross-pond network hop(s) (since it's not likely a single packet request/response).

      Just what I've been looking for.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Yay, it's the Street View/Android WiFi MAC address slurp all over again, only this time with Bluetooth MAC addresses.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seen a demo

    Looks very impressive. Rolls out to all android 6 devices without the need for OS updates.. doesn't fit the hidden agenda...

    1. Detective Emil

      Re: Seen a demo

      Umm, surely the hidden agenda is for Google to know where you are, what device you have, and, given the nature of that device, what you're up to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seen a demo

        Google know where you are without needing to add this tech to find out. If you have opted out of all services, device, apps etc which allow location then you wouldn't be using this fast pair service (or getting the update) anyway so if their motive was to track your location it's a very inefficient way of doing it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... and speed limits on Maps ?

    Ah, not this year ?

    Again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ... and speed limits on Maps ?

      Tin foil hat time.

      They already have them, do you have any idea how valuable that information would be to insurers? Even government would be tempted to issue speeding tickets based on the data. You were travelling 40 on a 30 road, who was driving?

      One for the future I reckon, be careful what you wish for.

      1. fuzzie

        Re: ... and speed limits on Maps ?

        HERE maps have had speed limit indication and warnings from the Symbian days already. It's fullly offline operation, combined with the speed limit display and associated configurable speed warnings, have kept me from ever seriously trying out Google Maps. Since 80% of in-car navigation systems are based on HERE maps, I'd argue government and insurance companies have had a decade to wake up to that, yet haven't. One of the explicit use cases for Europe's Galileo GPS constellation is to provide accurate enough data to enable per-kilometre tolling. It could easily do the same for speed limit enforcements.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: ... and speed limits on Maps ?

      ... and speed limits on Maps ?

      I don't know and I don't care. I've always used reliable offline services like TomTom, Here and OSMand… The car companies have always had speed limit indicators so why downgrade to an inferior system?

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: ... and speed limits on Maps ?

      There are these things at the side of the road you might find useful, they have numbers on them and are called speed limit signs. If you are driving you should be looking at them, not your phone!

  4. Solarflare

    Perhaps this is just me, but I've never thought "Gosh, this bluetooth thing is great, but I really wish it didn't take so long to pair a device initially!". It takes all of 30 seconds to pair a device, yes that might not be speedy, but it means that I have to want to do it. After the initial setup, devices take a few moments to reconnect to each other. So I'm not sure what problem this is really solving. Also:

    " Android devices need to have Bluetooth and location services turned on. A trip to Google's cloud is required, too"

    Yeah, fuck that.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      re: Yeah, fuck that.

      Seconded.

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      We note your solution and await a corresponding problem.

  5. DougS Silver badge

    Why would anyone be an early adopter of a Google invention?

    Considering they just junked their public key pinning, and regularly can products/services they've offered for years with little notice, does anyone want to bet this will last?

    If they think this is so great, they should submit it to the Bluetooth org to become part of the next standard. I guess its dependence on Google's cloud makes that a non-starter - any reason why that should be other than "because Google wants to slurp more data"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would anyone be an early adopter of a Google invention?

      It looks like it uses Bluetooth Standards already, I don't think it needs another standard to say that you can use two standards.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Why would anyone be an early adopter of a Google invention?

        It looks like it uses Bluetooth Standards already, I don't think it needs another standard to say that you can use two standards.

        In the same vein, why would you ever need a standard for Bluetooth pairing via NFC if you've got a standard for Bluetooth and a standard for NFC?

    2. ComedyIsn'tPretty

      Re: Why would anyone be an early adopter of a Google invention?

      ... Considering they just junked their public key pinning,

      They junked their public key pinning because it served their purpose which was to take down VeriSign/Symantec's PKI. Now that they accomplished that, the hard work of maintaining this can no longer be justified.

  6. James 51 Silver badge

    Obligatory XKCD:

    https://xkcd.com/927/

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I tend to turn off Location Services to preserve my phone's battery life, so I don't see this as an ideal solution.

    Manual Bluetooth kinda works okay. Some Bluetooth speakers have used NFC to pair with phones. I hear that Apple's proprietary chip solution works well for pairing devices, but that's not an option for at the moment.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Well, you think you've turned them off. You also need to find the "yes, I really do want to turn the WiFi off" and "yes, I really do want to turn location services off" options.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protocol could easily have been designed without the Google backend roundtrip

    Google will know every time you get in your car and where that car is located building a database of your most frequently visited places (stores, friends, gas stations, work location, home location). This will be attached to your google id, your email address and your phone number. Google will know if you have to drive to a hospital, if you are having an affair, how old your car is, when you attend a funeral, a concert, a movie or a sports event.

    Licensed further and integrated in smart home devices and computer login; then virtually all your activities are now known to Google.

    Ease of use is the opioid addiction that Google is peddling. Once your hooked, you can't give it up and you just keep giving Google all your private data and don't even care.

    This protocol could have easily been developed without the need for Google to gain access to this private data.

    1. Oneman2Many

      Re: Protocol could easily have been designed without the Google backend roundtrip

      Is there any indication that Google don't have this information already, or the car manufactures or insurance companies for those with a black box

      1. ComedyIsn'tPretty

        Re: Protocol could easily have been designed without the Google backend roundtrip

        Assuming you don't stick a Progressive tattle-tale device into your car, the black box info doesn't leave the car. You own the car and the black box and there are a limited number of things as the owner of the car that you can do. Regardless no database of private information is being maintained and used for marketing purposes.

        You can buy a non-Android phone. Licensing this protocol means every phone (smart home device, any Bluetooth pairing event) uses the Google lookup service and Google gets the data.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fine, as long as the cloud connection is optional. I'm in favour of faster, easier pairing. And I'm very much in favour of making it easier to determine which device you're connecting to.

    When you're in an office or crowded space and you try and connect, is it "Bluedio", "BT Speaker", "BT-01", "BT201", "Uconnect" or "Bluetooth Speaker"?

  10. Mage Silver badge

    and location services turned on

    So it tells Google where you are and what you are pairing with?

    No thanks and they should be fined and managers face criminal prosecution every time they steal a bit more of your privacy. Google are ALREADY illegal, but just not prosecuted yet in EU and many other countries with similar laws.

    Sometimes "solutions" to "first world" problems are like a contract with the Fay Folk, the humans always lose.

  11. Uffish

    Prior art

    I have a bluetooth speaker and it came with a rapid connection device. My laptop was compatible and the tech works perfectly. The speaker is an inateck Mercury Box and the technology is a nice braid covered cable with a 3.5mm stereo jack on each end, I'm sure there are many more examples of this technology out in the market.

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