Android 4.4 dialer may display ads [UPDATED]

November 1, 2013
9

Google has gone to great lengths lately to make sure their ads reach just about everywhere. They’re a the top of your search, and are now scrollable on mobile devices. As Google continues to make a bulk of their revenue via Search, they’re increasingly involving it in our experience.

That may end up moving to your Android dialer, now. In Android 4.4, there are a few lines of code which have some concerned. Specifically, <string name=“enable_disable_advertisements”>Advertisements</string>, <string name="advertisements_enable">Advertisements enabled</string>, and <string name="advertisements_disable">Advertisements disabled</string>. Those three lines of code suggest that, within the dialer, we’ll start seeing some form of advertisement.

It could be any number of things, but we think it’s simply tighter integration across the board. Contextual information is important, and if Google knows you called to order pizza, it may show a Google Offer for that particular restaurant. If you’re calling around to get estimates on car service, it may do the same. We know that the dialer will allow us to search for local businesses, so it makes sense that ads would be present as well. Rather than do a Google Search for a business, then look for discounts or specials, then call — we can now do that all from one place.

We think it will come in pretty handy more often than it will be bothersome. Until the day we have to suffer through video ads before making a call, we’re fine with having a small text or banner ad present in the dialer. Google makes money on ads, and gives everything else (like Android) away. If it becomes an issue, the "disable" language in the code suggests we may be able to turn it off.

[UPDATE] After a conversation with Google, we've learned that the code in question has been there for quite some time. A Google spokesperson has confirmed that ads will not be coming to your dialer.


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  • Raymond Marx

    You may want this crap on your phone, it’ll make me sue to not only stop it, my service provider for allowing it but, also my phone manufacturer as well!!! I refuse to have ads on the main purpose of the phone! I’m already to go back to real phones again anyways, that would push me over!

  • PierJes

    Ads on my phone’s dialer will be reason enough to get rid of it.
    If this info is true, I’ll switch to iPhone.

  • itpromike

    This is BS. I don’t care how lightly you put it (‘tighter integration across the board’) this is awful. And don’t give me that ‘Google is open and free but they aren’t a charity and they have to pay the bills crap either. Sure Google is ‘free and open’ but not to US, you know… the users that use the products… the people that actually matter. Google is free to OEM’s, and they are open to OEM’s… Don’t believe me? Try to download GAPPS with all bits of code that come on retail phones but through AOSP… can’t do it (legally anyway). Try to buy (see that word there… buy?) a phone without a crazy bloated launcher outside of the Nexus line; which get’s excused for a lot of issues because people rationalize it as a ‘developers’ device (I’m looking at you N4 and your crazy modem issues). Additionally the last time I checked, I didn’t get my N4 for free either… I didn’t get my Nexus S for free, I didn’t get my Desire for free… I pay for these devices so I should not be subjected to ads to… pay for these devices. It’s like buying an Android phone is signing a contract with the carrier and now signing a contract with Google both for ongoing charges. One charges you a monthly bill and the other makes money off of selling all your information on an ongoing business. So Google polling your phone calls and emails to make money is OK but somehow NSA doing the same thing to ‘keep America safe’ I’m supposed to be outraged about. If when I get my N5 this is really true it will go right back in the mail and I’m done with this platform. /end rant

  • Alan O’Dowd

    If it’s true I will dump android (Google) because they should be giving away their phones if it’s ads ads ads…

  • Cory Wilson

    Thankfully google said it’s not happening because seriously it’s not like you can buy a premium ad free version of the dialer…nor should you have to.

  • Eli Kennedy

    I don’t see the big deal here. Its android and its open source. If you don’t like the stock version of anything (For whatever reason) change it. Install another one or make your own one. This is what makes android what it is. I can’t believe there are people commenting that they’ll go to IOS over this. Why are you even using android? If you want a canned experience you’re on the wrong platform and probably at the wrong website.

  • xxonmill

    Let them do what they want.

  • http://www.aendrew.com/ Ændrew Rininsland

    Great reporting there, guys…

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