Google is expanding its Chrome web browser and operating system by adding Google Cloud Messaging for Chrome. The main feature of the new addition is that it brings push notifications to the browser and chrome OS. Google announced the feature in a blog post on the Google Chrome developer blog.
According to the blog post, the service is intended to wake up an app or extension, and/or alert a user. For example, calendar updates could be pushed to users even when their calendaring app isn't open.
To use the service, the developers' servers send a message to Google's GCM server, which in turn sends the message to Google Chrome, which pushes the notification by communicating with the developers' Chrome extension or Chrome app.
Chrome now has push notifications
The best thing about push notifications is that software doesn't have to keep a continuous connection with servers to get them. The roundabout approach lets the notification get to users without wasting power or network usage.
“Any messages sent are delivered to all instances of that application installed in a Chrome profile signed in as that user,” the blog post says. “The most recent message sent on each subchannel is automatically queued for delivery to instances of Chrome which are not connected to the push messaging service at the time.”
Back in February, Google's open source web browser Chromium had been updated with a notification centre. This was a big step forward for bringing Google Now to Chrome.
Google has been working on bringing Google Now cards to desktop Chrome as well. In the latest build of Chromium for Windows, you need to toggle the ‘Enable Rich Notifications’ flag in chrome://flags to see the how the notifications work.
The notifications look neat and simple, and there are controls to change their settings and clear all at once, making it evident that multiple notifications can be lined up.