Two new commits in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggest that the Nearby Connections API that is currently in Android is going to be coming to the platform. The first commit points to the actual import of the Nearby API code into the Chrome OS platform while the second commit more clearly outlines the need for classes within the platform code structure to support Nearby.
Right now the Nearby API is pretty limited in functionality on Android. The idea long term is to allow for devices near each other to quickly share information or, through beacons, get information about a location or event that you happen to be near. Rarely does it get used these days but Google is continue to develop the API, it is up to version 2.0 now, and developers are slowly beginning to implement it.
Long term, with Nearby in Chrome OS, a Chromebook and an Android phone could seamlessly communicate with each other or your Chromebook could get information pushed to it in the form of a notification from a beacon.
Given that Google is continuing to meld Android and Chrome OS, it makes sense that these APIs would be in the platform. How useful they are going to be is yet to be determined but the future is promising as to what they could do.
As with any Chrome OS commit, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Nothing has shown up in code, even in the Canary channel, on this year so we are months away from seeing an implementation in the Stable Channel – assuming that it makes the cut along the way.