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Chrome Drops Notification Center from Windows, Mac and Linux

chrome message centre on os x

The Chrome notification centre — a pet hate of many — is to be removed from Chrome.

Upcoming Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the browser will no longer include the feature Google has announced.

Why?  Well, it turns out that not many people use it.

Lack of Use

“Few users visit the notification center,” a Google software engineer explains on Chromium team blog. “To keep Chrome simple it will be removed from Windows, Mac, and Linux in the upcoming release.”

The feature removal is part of a wider effort by Google to take Chrome back to basics, to simplify and reduce its overall UI footprint.

Burgeoning support for push notifications for websites is also cited as a factor in the decision to ‘streamline’ notifications in Chrome. Sites like Facebook are already taking advantage of the web push API to give users updates on their desktop – even when the website isn’t open.

The latest Chrome Dev builds on Windows and Mac OS X already ship without the familiar bell icon in the menu bar/status area.

It should be stressed that Chrome OS is not affected.

Contention Center

Chrome added the notification center to desktop builds back in 2013 as a way for extensions, websites and apps to store notifications that users might miss while away from their computer, or store until they’re able to ‘action’ them.

In addition to storing notification toasts for later viewing the center also houses a settings strip through which users can decide which apps, extensions and websites can send notifications.

Although useful it has never been hugely popular. Users on Windows and Mac have long asked for Google to make the feature optional (Mac users got their wish).  The contention is that Google is ‘forcing’ its own notification tech on users rather than working to leverage native solutions on OSes.

Google is not ditching notifications entirely. Rich notifications sent from apps, websites and extensions will be shown as they are today, as pop-up toasts on the desktop.

But dropping the notification centre means there won’t be a place for those alerts to wait until a user is ready to ‘act on them’.

Furthermore, losing the Notification Center also means no-more Google Now cards for desktop users (at least, until the new app launcher is implemented).

“By streamlining the experience on desktop, Chrome can ensure a simple notification experience on every platform,” adds Google.

It also means Chrome may finally be able to take notice of each OSes’ own ‘do not disturb’ state rather than relying on its own.

Will you miss it?

  • I say good riddance. It works well on Chrome OS, but not really anywhere else. Here’s to a more native solution.

    • liamdools

      Agreed. Chrome needs more overall nativity. Themes should blend with the titlebars in Metacity/Copmiz/Openbox/whatever like they do in Windows and Mac without using their own graphics stack to make everything. Chrome should use the notification centers built-in with OSes instead of making Chrome bigger by including their own. If Chrome blended in better, I believe it could be 3/4 or even a half the size that it is now, plus it would run faster.

    • regs

      It works and looks OK. But it just useless, since little apps really using notifications in a useful way. If Google would finally bring sane support for Android apps on Chrome then it will be useful.

    • I think the appearance and potential is very nice of the notifications bar on Chrome OS but there is still lack of functionality.
      I wish Google added more functions for the notification bar.

  • FirstLine

    Yes I will miss it. I use it everyday. Upcoming hockey game schedules, instant weather, package tracking. Click the little bell and it tells me that it’s 11c outside. If it means Chrome will integrate into Action Centre then it will not be a big loss. But I remember reading an article saying they don’t want to play nice with Windows 10’s new notification system. Maybe they’ve changed their minds.

    It’s what I have been wanting for Windows for a long time. Balloon Notifications are nice but pretty imcomplete. Users need to know what happened not just in the present but while away from keyboard.

    • David Gabel

      If they can make the Chrome App Launcher act more like the one in ChromeOS, where it has your apps as well as Google Now cards, then I’d be happy with that, as it comes in handy when I am on the chromebook, and feels less incomplete than the bell icon on Linux and Windows.
      (Mac OSX excluded as I do not run Apple systems and would not know how useful it may or may not be on it)

      • m-p{3}

        I think there’s already an option to test the new launcher in chrome:flags

        • David Gabel

          I’ll have to take a look at that, thanks

  • Just because nobody clicked on it, does not mean they failed to read the notifications. If it says you have a message, I then click on the gmail tab – not the notification.

    • hugo venhorst

      i think notifications will still come. they will just pop up once, and won’t land in a notification bin that just sits there until you empty it.

      your use-case is not affected, positively or negatively :-)

      • m-p{3}

        Kinda sucks as I often took action from past notifications and now I won’t be able to.

  • “Although useful it hasn’t never been hugely popular.”

    Double negative, it’s like finger nails on a chalkboard. Please fix. :)

    As far as the notifications go, one of the first things I do after launching Chrome, is to disable notifications for a day. I do this at work in the mornings on my Linux machine and then again at night when I get home on my Mac. I personally would much rather the notifications from Chrome be integrated with the OS of the system it’s on. Thanks Google!

    • on mac there is a nice preference to completely disable them.

  • LAMBDA471

    They implemented this pestering thing, good thing I don’t use mediocre browsers like Chrome, when Windows 10 came out, people started talking about Chrome being integrated into Windows 10’s notifications, Google officially responded in a very simple and straightforward way “No integration with Windows 10.”

    Now they are removing their annoying notifications sub-application or whatever that thing is. My spider sense is telling me, they might go for Windows 10 integration after all. Considering the latest news about Windows 10 being the final OS where only features and updates will come in the future, it would make perfect sense.

    • David Mulder

      They might integrate with the Windows 10 notification center once it supports all necessary features, but right now it’s far too simplistic to support all functionality that Chrome notifications require.

    • Ayush Shenoy

      I doubt they will in the future because Google will want to push Chrome OS forward instead of Win 10

  • Marion Coleman

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  • philip formby

    chrome os will keep this feature

  • moe

    Just focus on chrome os, why should they care to distribute to other operating systems? If people care for this feature or any other features chrome offers they would buy a chromebook in the mean time make chrome os prime time os!

    • pawfyd

      lol

    • Ayush Shenoy

      The stats chart in the Google office dosen’t agree with you.

  • hugo venhorst

    wasn’t chrome all big on add-ins?

    why not take a modular approach and pipe notifications through an OS specific add-in that connects to whatever notification system your particular OS is using.

    not using windows? don’t install the Windows-notification add-in. love the good-old chrome notification center afterall? have it your way and install that.

    if any add-in proves to be not used enough to be worth in-house effort, open-source it and hand it over to the community.

    any decision to either include or exclude will always be top-down and will always piss off some group.

    • David Mulder

      That would be virtually impossible, because those notifications support a lot of specific features not possible on various OS’s (mostly the actionable part). On most OS’s all you can do is just ‘click’, however options like HTML markup and separate action buttons are not possible both on Windows and Mac’s default notifications. Of course it would be possible to require app developers to specify more information and more formats to support multiple OS’s, but realistically that would be a pain in the *** for developers, and due to that probably end up with being a pain in the *** for users. The only practical way they could pull native support off is by dropping support for rich notifications, which would get a lot of negative feedback as well. So considering all this your idea was pretty bad tbh.

      • hugo venhorst

        “love the good-old chrome notification center afterall? have it your way and install that.”

      • what are you saying? on OSX and on Windows 10 you can have rich notifications with up to 2 different buttons (and even a dropdown) and 2 or 3 different icons.

        • Ayush Shenoy

          Could you post a screenshot

          • Sorry I don’t own a Windows machine but I’m sure you will be able to find more informations on google as I did months ago.

  • delores.haskins@aol.com

    Here is something to pay attention , a great opportunity for work for those who want to use their free time to make money using their computers… I have been doing this since last two years and I am making 40 to 70 dollars per hour … In the last week I have made 12,245 for almost 18 hours sitting ….

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    ?There are no time constraints … You may do this any time when you are free ….

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  • I find the Chrome Notification Centre annoying on both Windows & Chrome OS so I wont miss it on Windows. I’d love to see something better than the current Notification Centre on Chrome OS, maybe something simular to the Ones used by Mac OS X and Windows 10.

  • Billie Wade

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    ?There are no time constraints … You may do this any time when you are free ….

    ?Here is what I’ve been doing….

    < ->>w­w­w­.­y­o­u­c­a­n­a­l­s­o­c­h­a­n­g­e­y­o­u­r­f­a­t­e­l­i­k­e­o­t­h­e­r­s­a­r­e­.­b­l­o­g­s­p­o­t­.­c­o­m >

    gdxfg

  • Arnold Rimmer

    What’s the notification center?

    • Logan Combs

      Chrome has notifications, like Google Now that can tell the weather, when to go to work and how far you are from home. Or websites can give you notifications. But the notification center shows these if you miss them, but they removed it. Extensions/apps could also give you notifications.

  • ForSquirel

    This is going to suck.. I use the notifications through tasker on a daily basis.. this is going to really take a dump on that.

  • It should, at least, be a optional.

  • God of chaos

    Both os x and windows 10 have native notification centers. How hard could it be to just shove chrome notifications there?

    • Lars Ochsenbein

      Ok, fine. And what about Linux?

      • En_joy

        Obviously nothing.

      • maevian

        Gnome and unity have native notifications

    • Degru

      They don’t support the level of customization and interactivity that Chrome notifications have. Remember, these are pretty much Google Now cards. Win10 notifications are just text messages with an icon next to them.

    • Ayush Shenoy

      Everybody dosen’t own an Apple product and everybody hasn’t upgraded to Windows 10

      • maevian

        Then upgrade? It’s free

        • Ayush Shenoy

          Privacy concerns.

  • En_joy

    This really sucks. There is no better solution for Google Now notifications on Windows.

    • Logan Combs

      I know, I don’t like it. I was wondering why mine disappeared. This happened a few months ago on canary.

  • Ryan Johnson

    Good riddance quite honestly. I’ve never liked or found a use for the Chrome notification center. The Google Now “cards” that were supposed to show up were always either stripped/limited Now cards or just the Weather card that would appear. I do nothing online that really involves notifications, which I won’t speak for anyone else, but I’m sure not many other visit websites that took/take advantage of those notifications either. It’s no wonder it was hardly used, everyone either didn’t know it was there or saw it as useless Chrome bloat. That’s how I feel about the situation, anyways. I’m glad they’re stripping out the Chrome OS features from the browser now.

    • Ayush Shenoy

      Because browsers don’t just surf plaintext anymore. They are more like media centers now. For example u can play music on Spotify, watch Markiplier’s next video on Youtube and do anything u would do with native apps through web apps.

  • Iiari

    How is Pushbullet going to work on Chrome on the desktop? I really depend upon that.

    • Ayush Shenoy

      Same here.

    • Annonymous

      The same way it works in Firefox.

    • Froid

      Big problem with pushbullet is I can’t remove all notifications at once now. I have a security camera setup and get a notification when there’s movement. Now I have to remove hundreds of notifications one at a time if I’m away for a bit. Bad move on Google’s part imo

  • Ayush Shenoy

    I have no problem with it because Google has been known for some pretty big design changes (for example the new Chromcast). I primarily use the notification center to occasionally review toasts I miss. Also Google has to find a way to retain notifications in one place because apps like Pushbullet have huge user-bases. As for the “Win & OSX have native notification centers” argument, while I don’t know about OSX, Windows has no way to retain notifications and I am often left wondering what that purple box (I use Win 8.1) was about. Maybe Microsoft will or already has added this in Windows 10, but till most people actually take the leap to Win 10, this will not be practical.

  • Jose Reyes

    what a idiot, they should make a vote to stay or remove, or optional… you should make that vote before announced!

  • Abraham Sarmiento

    Mkayyyyy….. seems I was one of the few that actually used them heavily, bummer.

    • Android123

      Me too

    • Bootleg Zani

      Dammit I just realized this happened. I’ve been looking for Notification Center for a few days now on Chrome for Windows. The change must have finally gone live in the last version.

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  • Azims Lives

    No big deal. I rather not having them. It is annoying when you always have see the weather notification. I don’t give a damn about the weather. Current version of Windows already have own notification system so what’s the point?

  • Divine Martins Jr. Okoi

    I used to use the notification center, however I wasn’t fond of it. I support their decision, making Chrome lighter and more efficient.

  • m-p{3}

    I liked being able to view past, unacknowledged notifications from Chrome in a unified notification center (ie: Facebook, PushBullet notifications).

    Now all those notifications are scattered accross the different extensions.. oh well, at least I can do it from my Chromebook..

  • Eric Nicholls

    I wish Chrome could integrate their notifications with Gnome 3 on Linux.