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Spam Kills Android 'Nearby Notifications'

The Nearby Notifications functionality introduced for Android phones some three years is going away as engineers noticed it was plagued by spam and irrelevant messages.

The service let developers tie an app or Web site to a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon and create contextual notifications, even with no app installed. It helped users see free Wi-Fi hotspots and do things like provide guides while in a museum, and list bus schedules at bus stops.

Part of the Android Nearby initiative that also includes Nearby Messages and Nearby Connections, Nearby Notifications was described as "an Android feature which enables contextual discovery. Associate your website or app with a beacon and devices nearby will display the message in the Nearby section of Google Settings, light up the Nearby Quick Settings tile on supported devices, and promote messages that perform well as notifications."

Yesterday (Oct, 25), however, Google announced support for Nearby Messages will end on Dec. 6.

"We noticed a significant increase in locally irrelevant and spammy notifications that were leading to a poor user experience," Ritesh Nayak M, product manager, said. 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."

Google said developers will still have access to the beacon dashboard and continue to deliver similar proximity-based experiences via the Proximity Beacons API, and continue to use Nearby Messages and Nearby Connections APIs.

The publish-subscribe Nearby Messages API enables mobile developers to pass small binary payloads among Internet-connected (as opposed to Bluetooth) Android and iOS devices, while Nearby Connections leverage a peer-to-peer networking API to let apps easily discover, connect to and exchange data among nearby devices in real-time, even if there's no regular network connectivity. Goolge in July 2017 announced Nearby Connections 2.0.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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