Google has been known for getting a little too close to people’s personal lives for comfort over the years, and the company’s Google Maps app has been a particularly active culprit in that area (Street View, anyone?). Even Google Maps, though, had to admit it had crossed a line after its most recent obtrusive innovation.
That innovation was to be an app called Google Here. On the surface, Google Here was going to bring Google Maps to the great indoors while, at the same time, supplying you with helpful information and discounts based on your location.
If you arrived at a bus station, for instance, the app could automatically search for schedules for that station and bring them up.
When you stepped into a Starbucks, a brand that was supposed to partner heavily with Google Here, your phone would notify you of exclusive discounts available to Google Here’s users.
When you stepped into the airport, your itinerary would pop up on your screen.
Liza Kindred, the founder of a clothing retailer Google was going to include in the indoor extension of Google Maps, elaborated on what the app was going for.
“The same way that the best websites offer some of the top attributes of physical stores, the best stores can behave like websites: making recommendations, offering special deals, and giving access to ratings, reviews, and detailed product information.”
Sounds great, right? Well, yes and no. Push notifications from businesses you enter would sometimes be convenient, but it would probably be obnoxious more often than not.
“It sounds like it would have been an interesting but potentially annoying feature,” writes a reporter for Ubergizmo. “After all, no one likes having their phones go off on them all the time, right?”
Although no one from Google has made an official comment on the recent decision to pull the app, notes Fortune, people tied to the project have confirmed that Google agreed that the app was too invasive.
The other reason Larry Page, the CEO of Alphabet (Google Inc.’s recently acquired new name), decided to shut down Google Here is because he was not confident enough retailers would get behind an app that basically forced advertisements on people – even though the ads would occasionally be helpful. After all, Google Maps is a very popular application, and Google did not want to clutter it up and ruin its slick feel by bringing to it a slew of advertising.
The idea that inspired the development of Google Here was the large market for apps that enable “app-less distribution,” an industry term for apps from widely used companies that allow smaller enterprises to piggyback on the large company’s success by reaching out to its users.
When Google Here was decommissioned, Google did not want to give up on its idea of building an app-less distribution app. The answer was Google Eddystone, an app that works in a similar way to how Google Here was supposed to but that operates based on communications with Bluetooth beacons placed in stores rather than via GPS.
So the good news is that Google Maps cannot find you wherever you are in the world and hurl advertisements for local businesses at you, which would have been the ultimate result of Google Here. The bad news is that you’ll still have to pay full price for your coffee until Starbucks gets an Eddystone Bluetooth beacon.
[Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]