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Notifications, Not Ads

Notifications on our smartphones are pretty common these days. Notifications are designed to provide the user with helpful information and alerts. For example, a reminder notification, an email notification, a download-in-progress notification. According to Google,
Notifications provide short, timely, and relevant information about your app when it’s not in use.

It's a useful feature offered by modern mobile operating systems. An average smartphone user gets many, many notifications each day. Some of 'em are useful, some of 'em are less so. Many are intruding in nature. The issue is that developers have started to abuse the notification framework. They are using notifications to serve ads and promotions which gets pretty annoying pretty quickly. These notifications are neither timely nor helpful. And almost none of apps allow you to opt out from this crap. The only thing you can do is block all notifications from that app. That means you'll miss out on important alerts from that app.

Google advises developers not to use notifications as the primary communication channel with users. But the devs seem to do just that. The most annoying notifications come from the big names. This is a big surprise to me. Examples include, Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Hotstar, Zomato, Swiggy, Paytm etc.

Zomato has one of the most annoying notifications (read ads) ever. Every Saturday and Sunday the app sends a notification to buy food.

Notification from Zomato
Zomato
Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong supposedly have sales everyday and they keep reminding that every hour. Every day.

Notification from Flipkart
Flipkart

Notification from Myntra
Myntra

Notification from Jabong
Jabong
There are more examples like this. Take a look below.

Notification from Foodpanda
foodpanda

Notification from Hotstar
Hotstar

Notification from JioTV
JioTV

Notification from MyJio
MyJio

Notification from My Vodafone
MyVodafone

Notification from PhonePe
PhonePe

The notification system, at present, is broken. Hopefully Android Oreo's Notification Channels feature would solve this issue. But that too remains uncertain. Will the developers choose to implement the feature? What if they start to misuse the channels as well? No one can stop a developer from sending an advertisement in an "Order Updates" channel. And we don't even know how many Android phones will actually get that Oreo update. We all know Android has a fragmentation problem. But that's a story for another day. These ads are ruining the user experience. And the developers gotta stop. Now!



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