Google adds mobile-like notifications and home screen apps to Chrome


Google has introduced a new feature in Chrome 42 which adds mobile-like notification technology to the web browser. It’s designed to solve the problem of forcing developers to choose between focusing efforts on a mobile website or a fully fledged mobile app, as the engagement of one can now be added to the reach of the other.

Chrome now provides the option for users to receive notifications from their favourite websites, and add an easy access icon to the Android home screen. When new content is added to the site, a notification will be sent to the user, ensuring they’re kept up to date, and therefore more likely to return.

Medium is one of the sites using Chrome’s new home screen icons

home icons

There are several sites already using the feature, including eBay, Facebook, and Vice News. Mobify and Roost also offer similar features for developers wanting to more regularly engage with readers and users using notifications. Users still must opt-in for the service, so those that do request them are more likely to read them, and the likelihood of notification-overload is minimised.

An icon on the home screen of an Android device works in a similar way to a native app, providing fast access to a mobile website. Flipboard and Medium are already using this to good effect, according to Google.

Chrome 42 also includes several other changes to the technical aspect of the browser, including ES6 classes, support for screen.orientation, alterations to the content settings, and new DevTool entries. You can learn more about them on Google’s Chromium blog post here.