Google just added a new feature to the Chrome beta channel that promises to make the company's browser even more like a standalone operating system.
Web developers can now make use of two new application programming interfaces (APIs) that work together to send mobile-style push notifications to the desktop on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux. Prior to the release of Google Chrome beta 42, the features were available in Canary Chrome's early adopter test build.
Chrome first began displaying pop-up notifications nearly four years ago. The difference now is that these new versions will appear even if the site's tab is closed. As before, push notifications will require explicit permission before they can be delivered to your desktop. Notifications will also include a Site settings button that will let you stop sites from sending further notifications if your browser becomes too noisy.
Chrome for Android will also get push notifications.
The story behind the story: For most of us, the web browser became the most essential app on our PC desktops long ago. The new notifications will make Chrome even more independent from Windows, thus increasing its importance to the user. If a browser can deliver the same experience as apps on a mobile device, it may also encourage even more people to try Chromebooks--an increasingly popular solution for enterprises and schools.
Not stable yet
The new push notifications aren't ready for prime time yet, but bringing the feature to the beta channel is the last step before they go to the standard version of Chrome. Typically, new features move out of beta and into the stable channel within weeks, and a few months at the most.
Google will almost certainly want to bring push notifications to Chrome as soon as it can. But even if the feature does come to the mainstream version of Chrome in the coming weeks, push notifications will only be as effective as the sites using them. Developers will first need to implement push notifications in their sites before they can come to your desktop.