Google announced that it will shut down Nearby Notifications later this year. The reason? Android users are getting too much spam from this functionality. After launching three years ago, it turned into a less user-friendly info guide. It also became a target for marketers.
What is Nearby Notifications?
Nearby is an Android feature that can open apps before you even need them. How? It utilizes Bluetooth and GPS. The goal of Google when it launched this feature was to enable the apps you are using to better understand where you are. With this feature, apps will be opened according to your current location.
“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 wifi nearby, provide guides while in a museum, and list transit schedules at bus stops.” – Google
For instance, if you are in an airport, the feature will open the Mobile Passport to help you in the customs line.
It was a special feature because it was compatible with all modern Android devices. It works using Google Play Services. This tool is a vital beast as it allows your phone to work as expected. Other things run through these Services, such as APIs.
How does Google Nearby work?
The scanning process of this feature is similar to how your phone scans every day. When your phone screen is on, Google Play Services automatically looks for nearby material.
In that case, if your screen is not active, it will not find content and beacons. It is useful for users who are only passing by. When you are engaged on your phone, you are likely to be staying in a location for a certain period.
Marketers were excited about the feature as they could easily send ads to users directly based on their location without having to use an application.
Unfortunately, just like any other features, Nearby was abused. Users received a lot of spam messages. As a result, they simply disabled it. Most of them went to forums to whine about this annoying service. For them, this service was more about ads.
Because of that, Google announced today that it would remove this feature on December 6.
“We’ve learned a lot building and launching Nearby Notifications. However, earlier this year, 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. As a result, we have decided to discontinue support for Nearby Notifications. We will stop serving Nearby Notifications on December 6th, 2018.”
Google will continue to invest in Nearby projects. However, it will only support features that will not bug users each time they go to a grocery store or a coffee shop.
What do you think of Google Nearby? Did you ever use it?