If you have a Windows PC, you're probably familiar with Microsoft's aggressive marketing tactics when it comes to its browser. The company automatically adds Edge to your taskbar after some updates, and it even sends you popups when you still won't use its Internet Explorer successor. It looks like Google is considering to introduce a similarly aggravating "feature" to Chrome for Android, as 9to5Google found out. It's working on push notifications that encourage you to use its browser when you haven't opened it in a while.

Google's efforts are documented in a total of three Chromium Gerrit entries, all filed under a "reengagement notification" term. These will pop up in your notification shade when the company notices that you don't use the app and have another browser installed. Chrome will check for engagement whenever you open a Chrome Custom Tab in any other app, like Gmail or Twitter, measuring how long it's been since you opened the browser proactively.

At the moment, the developers are planning on testing three notifications:

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The company is already working on adding the marketing measure to chrome://flags, though the proposed flag isn't available in Chrome yet:

Enable re-engagement notifications

Enables Chrome to use the in-product help system to decide when to show re-engagement notifications.

#reengagement-notification

If Google pulls through with these reengagement notifications, we'll probably see them in Chrome 86 the earliest, slated for stable release in early October. We assume that you'll be able to turn off notifications by setting the corresponding flag to Disabled, but it's certainly possible that Google will remove that flag in the future and make its notifications mandatory.

Since the notifications are still under development, it's also possible that Google will step away from the plan altogether, if only to mitigate antitrust investigations. After all, the vast majority of Android phones come with Chrome pre-installed and irremovable, and Google already owns more than 60% of the browser market. In this position, it shouldn't have to rely on shady notification spamming tactics to retain users, and should instead strive to improve its browser's performance, battery life, and RAM management to win people back.

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