The bell icon used to remain visible at all times
Familiar? The icon currently remains visible at all times

In a change that’s sure to chime with many, the latest Chrome dev channel update now hides the bell icon from the system tray when no notifications are waiting to be read.

The move brings the behaviour of the feature on Windows and Linux in line with that of Chrome OS.

Since its introduction to the stable channel last year, the omnipresent behaviour of the notification center icon has annoyed many. The icon doesn’t show up the moment you open Chrome, and instead waits until a notification arrives before appearing.

Then, when empty, it lingers, lodging a gloomy looking dark grey state in the system tray.

‘The bell icon now disappears after all notifications have been read’

But this changes in the latest developer channel release of Chrome. Now, just like on Chrome OS, the notification bell is only visible when notifications are waiting to be read (or, in the case of some Google Now cards, not dismissed).

When all pending alerts are dismissed the chime emblem leaves the system tray entirely — no more dull grey foothold! It’s not gone for good: when a new alert arrives the bell will reappear again.

But if all supported notification sources are disabled (BellSettings > Notifications) then you should, in theory, need never see the chirpy little icon again.

Chromium developers say the move will ensure “users without notifications will not be annoyed by the…icon in the status tray”.

Mac users already have the choice of hiding the notification bell from the status area.

As minor as it sounds, for some this will be one bell of a change! (“Groan” — the world).

Development Google Chrome notifications