While they are undoubtedly useful, notifications are usually synonymous with mobile platforms instead of desktop computers. Since Windows 8, Microsoft has been trying to make notifications standard on the desktop too with Windows 10 taking things a step further with the Action Center and its integrated utilities for mobile-desktop interactions. However, Microsoft is not the only company that wants people to get notifications on their desktops. Google is also a big fan of desktop notifications though the company’s results are a bit ambigious.
A brief history of Chrome notifications
Back in 2013, Google released a ‘Notifications Center’ which added an area to the system tray where people could check out what they have missed while they were away from their computers. The center looked something like the image below and it was available across Windows, OS X and Linux.
The feature was removed in October of this year because only a handful of people actually visited it. However, that does not mean Chrome no longer supports notifications. Sites that built their notifications with the Notification Center’s API do not work anymore but websites that provide simple notifications continue to be as prominent as ever. Users continue to get prompts to enable notifications and major services like Facebook have finally gotten a grip on the feature, a fact which may propel desktop notifications to newfound popularity.
It seems like the future of Chrome desktop notifications is uncertain at best as Google does not know what to do with its system. In Windows 10, for instance, Google could easily take advantage of the Action Center and provide simpler notifications to everyone. However, the company has done no efforts to introduce any such feature so there is no telling what will happen.
Enabling and disabling notifications in Chrome
When you are visiting a website that supports notifications with the latest version of Chrome, there is a pretty good chance that you will receive a pop-up message asking you to enable notifications for that particular site. The first place most people will get this message from is Facebook so we will use that as an example first. After agreeing to enable notifications, Facebook displays them for all the usual things like new messages and various events happening on the website such as people tagging you on their photos, sharing links with you and so forth. Clicking on a notification instantly opens the website it came from which provides another quick way of launching Chrome. To dismiss a message, either click on the ‘x’ button or just wait for a short while and it will automatically disappear.
To manage notifications, go to Chrome’s Settings, scroll down and click on the “Show advanced settings” option. Then, click on the “Content settings” button right below and scroll down again until you see the Notifications heading. There are three options you can choose from here: Allow all sites to show notifications, ask when a site wants to show notifications and do not allow any site to show notifications. The second option is the default and recommended one but you can choose whichever one you want.
In case you do want to allow notifications, clicking on the “Manage exceptions” button will let you control settings for individual websites. This page will show a list of websites that are currently providing you with notifications and you can easily block each of them by changing the “Allow” behavior to “Block”.
Furthermore, you can manually add websites by entering their URLs in the empty field and selecting an appropriate behavior from the dropdown menu. The “*” character is a wildcard, meaning you can use it in place of anything else. So if you see an entry that looks like this https://drive.google.com/*, for instance, it means that you can receive notifications from any page of that website.