When you’re browsing it can feel like you’re being bombarded with things other people want you to see. Not only do we have to click on permissions for cookies and tracking, but now a lot of websites ask for our permission to send us notifications. And while many of these notifications are harmless – news updates, latest recipes, product releases – sometimes they can be outright spam. It’s distracting, it’s making us less productive at work, and it’s just really annoying. It’s called ‘notification spam’ and it’s becoming a problem. In fact, Google says it’s one of the top complaint reports from people using its Chrome browser. So now the tech giant has decided to do more about it.
Back in October 2020, Google first acted on harmful notifications by exposing websites that misled people into giving permission. It created its own prompts to warn people the website may have malicious intent. Now, Google intends to take things a step further if it feels the website is ‘abusive’ or ‘disruptive’. It’ll revoke a website’s permission to send notifications, and even block attempts to request permission. Even if you’ve accidentally allowed a malicious site to send notifications, Chrome will be able to step in and block the alerts.
While it’s not yet clear how Google will define websites as ‘abusive’ or ‘disruptive’, it feels like a good move towards reducing the amount of spam we’re exposed to. Google has explained that this new feature works to strengthen its ‘Developer Terms of Service’ that pledge not to use the company’s API to send any form of spam. It shouldn’t affect the majority of websites, but instead should go some way to keeping your Chrome notifications spam-free. Development on Chrome’s notification spam block protection has only just started, so we don’t yet have a release date for the new feature.