07 november 2019 0 comments reading time: 2 minutes

Chrome and Firefox To Restrict Push Permission Prompts

On November 4, Firefox announced on its official blog that it will hide push notification requests from websites by default. From Firefox 72 onward, the browser will no longer show permission prompts unless the user has interacted with the website prior to the request. Interaction, in this case, implies that the user has performed a tap, click, or pressed a key.

Firefox will also add a small permission icon to its address bar that is meant to replace push prompts. By clicking on this icon, users will be able to override the automatic decision made by the browser not to display the prompt and allow or deny push notifications from that particular website: 

In 2019, Mozilla ran an experiment to gather and analyze information on how Firefox browser users interact with notification requests. The study revealed that only 1% of permission prompts are granted and that users are extremely unlikely to allow push notifications when requests are shown more than once for the same site.

The planned release date for Firefox 72 is January 7, 2020.

Google Chrome is also working on improving the user experience when interacting with notification prompts. According to XDA-Developers, a new flag was added to Chrome for Android in late August that is supposed to make push requests much “quieter” or less intrusive than a standard alert. 

The flag gives users three different “enabled” options that interfere with the way push prompts work. The first option is labeled “Enabled” and allows the browser to send silent push notifications letting users know when a notification request gets blocked. The second option, “Enabled (heads-up notifications)”, is more or less the same, except that it allows push notifications to briefly pop up on the screen as a “heads-up”. 

The last option, “Enabled (mini-infobars)”, will see small infobars replace push notifications. The infobar will appear along the bottom of the screen and display a short message saying that the notifications have been blocked by Chrome.

Google is also planning to change the way users interact with push notifications for Chrome OS and desktop versions of Chrome. Based on the same flag as on Android, two options for less intrusive notification prompts will be added to other Chrome versions.  

Both options will display an icon in the address bar to inform the user that Chrome has blocked a notification prompt. One of the options is meant to employ a sliding animation and show the “Notifications blocked” message. Having clicked on the icon, the user will be able to unblock notifications for that particular website.

One of the most important things to note is that Chrome may automatically block notifications for certain desktop users who have frequently declined notification requests before.

These Google Chrome updates haven’t been rolled out yet and are currently being tested. If Google decides not to scrap it altogether, which seems to be highly likely, we should expect the flags and automatic push prompt blocking to be introduced in Chrome 78, Chrome for Android, Chrome for desktop and Chrome OS.

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