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Firefox now lets websites push notifications without being open

No tabs needed.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Jan 27, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 7:38 am CDT

An update to Firefox is going to keep users more engaged than ever. The latest version of the browser will enable websites to send push notifications even when no tabs for those sites are open.

The feature will be a welcome addition for users who want to stay on top of their social feeds and email without having to constantly tab over to the site just to see what’s going on. Developers can now send messages directly to users when they want to stay up-to-date.

Jeff Griffiths, senior product manager for Firefox, told the Daily Dot the specification that powers the push notification is a new Web standard that works with Firefox as well as with Google Chrome. “By design, the Web Push standard, as well as the Service Workers standard that supports it, can be implemented without any Firefox-specific code,” he said.

Service Workers is a new technology that, according to Griffiths, “efficiently allows websites to periodically run small chunks of JavaScript to do various tasks.” The service is designed to use far less system resource than a typical Web page—saving valuable memory along with precious tab real estate.

Don’t worry, Firefox isn’t going to suddenly inundate you with unwanted updates from every site you’ve ever logged in to. Griffiths said the feature will work on a “per-site basis.” Users opt in to the updates, and can manage the settings for a site by clicking the green lock next to the browser’s address bar. 

When a user does decide to receive notifications, the messages are delivered to Firefox through a secured connection between the browser and push notification service.

The inclusion of push notifications in the browser seems a little like playing catch up; Chrome already offers a similar solution through the same standards Mozilla is now using, and Mac users can get updates in Safari through Apple’s system

H/T Mashable | Photo via Jennifer Morrow/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 27, 2016, 1:58 pm CST