Chrome tests Mac OS X notification support, Windows 10 support “likely”

Google’s browser may add native notifications in Mac OS X, and there’s hope for Windows users too.

Now that Google Chrome no longer has its own notification center, the browser is testing support for native notifications in Mac OS X.

This would allow Mac users to get Chrome alerts in the same manner as most other OS X apps. Notifications will look the same as other apps, will appear within the OS X Notification Center, and should respect any Do Not Disturb settings that users have set up.

For now, the feature is experimental. As The Next Web reports, users can switch it on by visiting chrome://flags/#enable-native-notifications, selecting “Enabled,” and restarting the browser. This feature is available in the stable version of Chrome, but users can see it in a more current development state by using Chrome’s Canary development channel.

Issues can come up during development, however, so a member of the Chromium team cautioned that official support isn’t guaranteed.

Why this matters: Google used to have its own notification center within Chrome, with alerts from web apps and from Google Now. But most people never bothered to use the feature, and in December, Google removed it from the Mac and Windows versions of Chrome. The decision appears to be part of a broader effort to remove bloat from desktop browsers and play more nicely with the platforms on which they are running.

Hope for Windows?

Although Windows 10 has its own native notification bar, called Action Center, Google previously said it would not integrate with this system, citing behavior differences between Windows 10 and older versions. A Chromium support monitor said Google might revisit the issue “in a few years” when most users are on Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Now, the team is changing its tune. In a Chromium tracker thread on Windows 10 notification support, a team member said developers have been “actively exploring how better to take advantage of native notification centers,” pointing to experimental OS X support as an example.

“Nothing is 100% sure on Windows until implementation begins and we fully evaluate what is possible, but it seems likely to me at least that we will be able to support native notifications on Windows 10,” the Chromium team member said.

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Jared Newman

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