Google decided to discontinue the Nearby Notifications contextual discovery feature because of too many spammy and mostly irrelevant notifications displayed when users were trying to discover new content or apps based on their current physical location.
As described by Google on the Nearby developer support page, "Nearby Notifications is a new feature allowing developers to tie an app or website to a BLE beacon and create contextual notifications, even with no app installed."
After developers would associate their apps or websites with a BLE beacon or BLE- capable smart device, Android devices who would be in its proximity would automatically display a custom message within the Google Settings' Nearby section.
Nearby Notifications can be configured to either provide an alert which links to an HTTPS URL or trigger an app intent for already installed apps and performing a pre-defined action.
According to Ritesh Nayak M, Product Manager, "earlier this year, we noticed a significant increase in locally irrelevant and spammy notifications that were leading to a poor user experience."
Developers can emulate the Nearby Notifications experience for their users with the help of the Proximity Beacons, Nearby Messages, and Connections APIs
Because of the off-topic notifications received by Android users more often than not, Google has decided to get rid of the feature entirely rather than using an almost impossible to develop moderation tool.
Nearby Notifications will automatically stop being delivered on December 6th, 2018, with both Eddystone and Physical Web beacon notifications being disabled.
Developers will still be able to provide their users with a similar experience with the help of the Proximity Beacons API, "a part of the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon platform, which also includes Eddystone, an open beacon format from Google."
Google will also provide a couple of other APIs that will help developers to emulate the Nearby Notifications experience, the "Nearby Messages and Connections, that are available for developers to build device-to-device connectivity experiences, and also have Fast Pair, for device discovery and pairing."