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Google to Discontinue Android's Nearby Notifications Feature Due to Spam

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Google to Discontinue Android's Nearby Notifications Feature Due to Spam

Google's location-based Nearby Notifications service closing down on Android due to spam

  • Google announced it will shut down Nearby Notifications on December 6
  • The feature provides information to users about their current location
  • Google found the notifications to be irrelevant and spam-filled

Google has announced that its Nearby Notifications feature will be discontinued towards the end of the year. Roughly three years ago, Google had launched Nearby Notifications for Android devices, that was meant to suggest apps and websites to users based on their location. While the feature was supposed to be helpful for users visiting new places, it became riddled with spam, which led to a "poor user experience", according to Google. The company has now announced that on December 6 this year, it will shut down the Nearby Notifications service.

Introduced in 2016, the Nearby Notifications feature was part of Google's aim to help users discover apps and contents based on their current location. For instance, if you are visiting a new place, the Nearby feature will show the relevant app/ website as a notification so that you can download if it is useful. It was meant to be a useful feature for people who like additional information about a place they are visiting. Users are not always informed about these apps and services provided by location-centric businesses, but Nearby looked to fill that gap. It also inadvertently ended up helping developers get noticed. However, Google is primarily discontinuing this service because it found developers abusing the platform to use it to send spam to people nearby.

In a blog post, Ritesh Nayak M, Product Manager at Google, says, "Our goal was to bring relevant and engaging content to users - to provide useful information proactively. Developers have leveraged this technology to let users know about free Wi-Fi nearby, provide guides while in a museum, and list transit schedules at bus stops."

"However," he added, "we noticed a significant increase in locally irrelevant and spammy notifications that were leading to a poor user experience. While filtering and tuning can help, in the end, we have a very high bar for the quality of content that we deliver to users, especially content that is delivered through notifications. Ultimately, we have determined these notifications did not meet that bar." This means, Google will stop serving Nearby Notifications on December 6 and Android users will stop receiving Nearby Notifications.

Google will also stop delivering Eddystone and Physical Web beacon notifications. But developers can continue to have access to the beacon dashboard and can deliver proximity-based experiences similar to Nearby Notifications via their own apps using our Proximity Beacons API.


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