It looks like Google is desperate to move more Pixel Tablet units, with the company making extensive use of Google Home app notifications to promote the new tablet launched earlier this year. Many people report seeing a “Meet the Google Pixel tablet” banner in their notifications, simply tapping on it takes them straight to its product listing on the Google Store. Samsung has received heavy criticism for a similar approach to promoting new devices in the past, but it still looks like Google is trying to join in on this strategy.
Notifications started popping up on some phones a week or two ago, and more people have been affected this week. It’s popping up in different regions, with reports coming in from the US and Europe on all kinds of phones and other devices. Ironically, we even saw one of these notifications on a Pixel tablet. Notifications are sent via the Other notices Google Home app channel, indicating that Google views the Pixel tablet as a home device, positioning it differently from competitors.
It’s unclear what else Google Home uses the Other notices channel for, but if you want to avoid similar ads in the future, you can disable it in the system settings of the Google Home app.
The practice of promoting new products via unsolicited notifications isn’t new, but it’s about the first time we’ve seen Google itself do it. A few years ago, Samsung got into hot water for adding ads across its services on expensive $1000+ devices, including a Galaxy Note 10 ad in 2019 sent through a notification channel Bixby Voice.
Other phone makers like Xiaomi are also known to run a lot of ads on their phones in some regions, although Samsung and Xiaomi have reduced the number of promotions in their respective products in recent years. Even Apple occasionally announces new services on iPhone notifications, leading the company to relax notification advertising rules for third-party app developers on its App Store.
Unlike Google, these companies only pushed their ads to the devices they sell themselves. Google’s Pixel Tablet ad also appears on devices made by other Android manufacturers, assuming the Google Home app is installed and set up. From what we can tell, iPhones and iPads with the Google Home app installed are spared from ads.
For a long time, Google’s Play Store policy prohibited apps from displaying ads in system notifications, although it appears the company has since relaxed those rules. Otherwise, apps like Brave Browser, which can potentially send ads to your notifications and earn you small amounts of crypto, would not be allowed on the Play Store.
The Pixel tablet isn’t a bad product, although forcing it on people with any Android device might not do it any good in terms of reputation. The Pixel tablet is Google’s first attempt at a tablet in years, and it’s taken a very different approach than many of its competitors. The tablet only comes in a bundle with a speaker dock that lets you turn it into a smart display, but with limited functionality compared to Google’s own Nest Hub.
Acknowledgements: Anna, Kieron, Moshe
Google Pixel tablet
Google’s notification promoting the Pixel tablet doesn’t look great, but that’s not the fault of the tablet itself. If you’re looking for a home tablet that has a permanent place to live within your own four walls, the Pixel tablet is a great choice.
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