Google makes mo­bile sites more app-like

Chrome push no­ti­fi­ca­tions are com­ing, with eBay and Face­book soon tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fea­ture

Android Advisor - - Adroid Advisor -

Google has taken a big step in its ef­forts to make mo­bile web­sites act more like na­tive ap­pli­ca­tions on An­droid smartphones by adding no­ti­fi­ca­tions to its browser.

One of the most con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ments for build­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion in­stead of a web­site has been the abil­ity to send no­ti­fi­ca­tions to users. Google is hop­ing to nar­row that ad­van­tage by adding the fea­ture to v42 of Chrome for An­droid.

As a re­sult, An­droid de­vel­op­ers no longer have to de­cide be­tween the en­gage­ment po­ten­tial of a na­tive app and the reach of a mo­bile web­site.

For users, the no­ti­fi­ca­tions will look and act as those sent from ap­pli­ca­tions. They still show up in the no­ti­fi­ca­tion tray, but a click takes users to a web­site in­stead of an app. Users still have to opt in be­fore a web­site can send them any mes­sages.

Early adopters in the com­ing weeks will in­clude eBay, Face­book and Pin­ter­est, ac­cord­ing to Google.

What no­ti­fi­ca­tions of­fer was a ma­jor theme at a re­cent event or­gan­ised by the On­line News As­so­ci­a­tion in Lon­don. While they of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage more closely with users, they are also the eas­i­est way to get them to unin­stall an app if not done right. It’s im­por­tant to be up­front with how many no­ti­fi­ca­tions will be sent and what they will cover, and then stick to that.

Com­pa­nies such as Roost and Mob­ify are pro­vid­ing ser­vices that aim to make it eas­ier for de­vel­op­ers to in­te­grate push no­ti­fi­ca­tions with their sites. The for­mer al­lows com­pa­nies to use its dash­board, its APIs and its Word­Press plug-in to send no­ti­fi­ca­tions to Chrome users on Win­dows, Mac, and now An­droid, it said in a blog post.

This up­grade is part of a larger ef­fort by Google to make mo­bile-op­ti­mised web­sites look more like in­stalled apps when us­ing Chrome. The up­graded ver­sion also lets de­vel­op­ers add a pop-up ban­ner that users can click on to add the site to their home screen. Other changes in­clude full off­line sup­port, and ac­cess to de­vice ca­pa­bil­i­ties such as the cam­era and ge­olo­ca­tion.

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