Ads are the worst, yet we see them everywhere. They fund the content we consume, for free, on a daily basis. It’s one thing to receive ads on a website you are going to for free, but it’s quite another when an OEM goes out of its way to force an app onto your phone in order to serve you more ads. Sadly, that is exactly what Samsung just did with it’s new Samsung Visit In update through the Galaxy Store.
On December 15, Samsung in the United States updated a system app called “IPS Geofencing” with the new Samsung Visit In app. This offers and coupons app has been rolling out in other countries and regions over the past year, but just hit the United States. IPS Geofencing was previously unused, or at least it was not user-accessible, and its function was unknown. As part of Visit In, it will be used to track your location, see when you’re in a store that sells Samsung products or services, then serve you related ads. While you do need to opt-in for this service, the update allowing the functionality was installed automatically in the background of devices via the Galaxy Store.
Yesterday morning, I had a push notification for Visit In show up on my $2,000 Galaxy Z Fold2. My incredibly expensive phone wants to track my location to serve me ads so it can sell me even more products. We’ve called Samsung out for its dubious advertising practices before, but installing an app in the background without user consent and then sending a push notification to get you to use it is frankly offensive. No doubt some unsuspecting users will absent-mindedly sign up for it. I hope Samsung changes their tune quickly with the Galaxy S21 series coming up, because serving ads on ultra-expensive flagships is really not a good look.