While fixing some bugs in our Chrome browser extensions we came across a feature that you might haven’t used or seen before: HTML5 Web Notifications. Basically Growl for Chrome. They sound like regular pop-ups, but are actually quite different. Maybe first and foremost in that they aren’t associated with spam and creepy websites.
Most browsers block pop-ups, unless they’re fairly sure that you asked for it to pop up. Web Notifications are also blocked by default and require permission to be displayed (if you’re building a Chrome extension, adding ‘notifications’ to your manifest’s permissions is enough), in much the same way your browser might ask for permission to use your current location. They have a ‘native’ feel to them. All notifications appear in the same location (top right on a Mac), are displayed chronologically and always on top, five at a time max.
I’ve setup a simple example project to demonstrate using Web Notifications: http://dangercove.github.com/html5-notifications
Update (july 26th 2012)
Apple integrated HTML5 Web Notifications in Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. This sure looks a whole lot better and more useful!