Google to disable Nearby Notifications following three years of complaints of spam advertising
Google had such high hopes for Android’s Nearby Notifications system. Sadly, it looks like those hopes have crashed and burned in spectacular fashion; the feature will be shuttered this December due to years of being plagued by spam and advertising.
In case you turned them off years ago and forgot what they are, Nearby Notifications are notifications that pop up whenever your phone comes close to a designated location. Google rolled out Nearby Notifications in 2015 in an effort to “provide useful information proactively.” Think of uses like a cafe announcing they have free WiFi, or a museum announcing discounted tickets, or a state park detailing a historic event that happened years ago.
Instead, it seems that most merchants and marketers have used the service to push out spam and other useless advertising, all without the drudgery of using an app or browser. Instead, when Android users would come near a venue, marketers could push worthless and non-relevant ads to their phones.
In a blog post earlier today, Google said that the service did not meet the “very high bar for the quality of content that [the company delivers] to users.” As a result, Nearby Notifications will effectively stop on December 6th of this year. Google will no longer deliver the beacons used for Nearby Notifications after that date. This will only affect systemwide notifications; marketers and merchants can still use Google’s Proximity Beacons API to deliver location-based content via a specific app.
While it’s sad to see a feature that showed so much promise decline so badly, at least Android users will be able to walk through Downtown without their phone buzzing every five seconds.