Google Axing Spammy Android Nearby Notifications

Android Nearby

Less than three years after launching Android Nearby Notifications, Google is killing off the feature.

In a blog post, Google Product Manager Ritesh Nayak admitted that Nearby Notifications—intended to surface apps, websites, and services that can be helpful near you—had become too spammy.

“Our goal was to bring relevant and engaging content to users—to provide useful information proactively,” Nayak wrote. Some developers leveraged the technology in helpful ways—providing notifications about free local Wi-Fi, for instance. Others took advantage of it to spam people.

“Earlier this year, we noticed a significant increase in locally irrelevant and spammy notifications that were leading to a poor user experience,” Nayak wrote.

Instead of trying to fix the feature, Google has opted to discontinue it altogether. The company plans to end support for Android Nearby Notifications on Dec. 6. After that date, users will stop receiving them. Developers, meanwhile, can still deliver location-based alerts that are similar to Nearby Notifications via their own apps with the help of Google’s Proximity Beacon API.

“We have a very high bar for the quality of content that we deliver to users, especially content that is delivered through notifications,” Nayak wrote. “Ultimately, we have determined these notifications did not meet that bar.”

Meanwhile, Nearby Notifications isn’t the only dead weight Google has decided to shed as of late. The web giant also announced plans to shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug it reportedly opted to keep secret to avoid regulatory scrutiny. The bug, which Google quietly patched in March, left the private information of about 500,000 users open to third-party developers.

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