Following in the footsteps of Mozilla, Google today announced plans to hide popup alerts in Chrome, starting next month, in February 2020.
According to one Publication in the company blog, Google plans to develop a "quieter notification UI".
The change is scheduled to be released with Google Chrome 80 on February 4, next month.
Google Traffic aims to reduce the number of pop-up notifications users see when accessing a site. Today, most sites are essentially harassing users with notifications that usually appear with pop-ups that fall below the Chrome URL bar and hide much of the webpage. Many times, this pop-up also blocks access to the site, preventing users from reading any content until they engage with the pop-up.
The feature can be useful on social networks and instant messaging applications that use it to display notifications about topics, new posts, or new private messages.
However, there are sites that use this API and do not do it in a professional way. These sites actually harass users at regular intervals with new pop-up notification windows, even when they ignore prompts.
In addition, in recent years, cybercriminals have found ways to "arm" the notification API.
If users accidentally click the wrong button and sign up for a malicious website, then for several days hundreds of pop-ups will appear, promoting links to malicious products or download links containing malicious software. The tactic has become very popular because it allows scammers to send new waves of spam directly to a user's device for a long time.
Notification pop-ups have been added to modern browsers (Chrome 22 in September 2012, and Firefox 22 in June 2013), with the addition of the notification API.
In the years that followed, browser makers realized that this new API had been compromised and added some controls to allow users to block recurring pop-up alert messages on annoying websites. However, the feature was never disabled by default, as it was also used by many legitimate sites.
In November 2019, Mozilla was released the first browser to fight this spam.
Firefox did not stop supporting the Notification API as notification prompts continued to work but were no longer visible. In the latest Firefox 72, released yesterday, all pop-up notification windows are hidden under an icon in the URL bar and will no longer appear in the browser user interface or block the user from accessing the site.
Firefox users wishing to sign up for a website to receive notifications must take a different approach by clicking the URL bar icon and then manually subscribing.
The Mozilla change was warmly welcomed by browser users, who, at this point, have been experiencing this problem for the last 7-8 years.
Today, Google announced a similar change. Starting next month with Chrome 80, Google Browser will also block most pop-up notifications by default and display an icon in the URL bar similar to Firefox.
When Chrome 80 is released next month, a new option will be added to the Chrome settings section, allowing users to sign up for the new "quieter notification UI".
Users will be able to enable this option once Chrome 80 is released, or they can expect it to be enabled by Google by default.
To register, users must select "Use quieter messaging" in the path Settings - Site Settings - Notifications.