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Android’s Nearby Notifications led to too much spam, so Google is turning it off

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google is discontinuing Nearby Notifications later this year it said, after it noticed Android users were receiving too much spam from the feature. Since Nearby’s launch in 2015, the feature has become a target for marketers and less of a user-friendly information guide.

Your Android device could typically get pinged when you venture near a location with beacons. Unfortunately, instead of providing relevant content, these beacons often sent out spam and unhelpful notifications to users’ phones, resulting in a “poor user experience.”

Google says its initial goal when Nearby was introduced three years ago was to “provide useful information proactively.” It listed positive examples, like telling users about free Wi-Fi, pointing out museum information, and telling you when a bus would arrive.

Ultimately, though, Android users often searched for ways to disable Nearby Notifications. They took to forums to complain about the annoying service that just meant more ads. Meanwhile, marketers were the ones excited about the chance to send ads directly to users based on location, without the need for an app.

In its post today, Google said “we have a very high bar for the quality of content that we deliver to users, especially content that is delivered through notifications.” By December 6th, the feature will be removed.