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.