It was one of the coolest new features of the new Android 4.4 KitKat update: Google’s brand new dialer app. While that may not sound very exciting at first, it’s the new dialer features that have our undies in a bunch.
Leveraging the power of Google Maps, the dialer not only pulls up contacts saved to your Google account, but phone numbers from local businesses in your area as well. So insanely useful, it was like combining the Yellow Pages and dialer into a single cohesive experience.
Last night, Google made the “stock ROM” for the Nexus 5 available, along with all the new apps therein. We were able to extract a handful of the new Android 4.4 KitKat apps, some of which we were even able to get up and running on our non-Nexus 5 devices. “Haxxors” and generally nosey Android fans began diving into some of these new apps, KitKat’s latest Dialer being one of them.
What was discovered was a line of code found inside the Dialer app that began raising some eyebrows. Here’s what was discovered:
<string name=”advertisements_enable”>Advertisements enabled</string>
<string name=”advertisements_disable”>Advertisements disabled</string>
From the looks of it, it’s easy to assume that some kind of advertisements would be making their way into the dialer, especially given the Dialer’s new Maps business listings search. This even lead to ArsTechnica’s Ron Amadeo to sate, “Google will show Ads in the KitKat Dialer” but they can be turned off (see enable/disable string).
After handing the app over our developer, he looked over it and found that this line of code wasn’t even new to KitKat. After searching for the code in past AOSP repos, he found that that it’s almost as old as Android itself, dating all the way back to Android 1.6. Yes, folks, Donut.
So while we suppose it’s possible for Google to add ads to the dialer in the future, this was simply some leftover code from Android’s past that failed to get cleaned up. There should be absolutely no reason for concern, ads are definitely not coming to your Dialer anytime soon.
UPDATE: Ah, looks like Amadeo updated his original post on Google+. Nice work.
Steve Albright contributed to this post.