One more noteworthy feature snuck its way into Chrome 86. It's a small change, but it should help make a further dent in the growing problem of notification abuse. In this latest release, sites known for abusive notification content (things like distributing malware or falsely scaring users with fake system messages) will get the same silent treatment as sites that try to trick users into enabling notifications.
Tired of the awful Chrome OS media controls wasting your precious notification space?
I think you'll agree that the Chrome OS notification area needs work. The media controls in Chrome OS take a large amount of vertical space in the notification area and push critical information like calendar reminders off to the side. I was honestly pretty stoked when Google merged media controls in the notification area in 2019. I no longer needed to rummage through my Chrome tabs and apps to pause whatever media was playing in the background, which was super annoying (the "pause" button on the keyboard didn't work at the time).
Let's be honest with ourselves: push notifications suck. It's incredibly annoying when you are spammed information that isn't relevant to you. As irritating as it is, notifications are fundamental to a product's usability and necessary for a good user experience (when done right). To increase engagement, designers came up with notification badges, a subtle way to hint that something is waiting inside the app. Google eventually adopted this concept with Android Oreo using notification dots, and it looks like Google wants to bring notification dots to apps on your Chromebook as well.
When you upgrade to Android 11, you might notice a mysterious-sounding "X Google enrollment" notification appear on first boot, saying "enrollment is running in the background." It disappears after a few seconds, and though it might sound odd, it's no cause for concern: It's just related to the Google Assistant. In fact, Google plans on tweaking the notification in the future to be more clear about what's going on.
A new lockscreen notification loaded with command shortcuts for the Google Assistant has started appearing for some in what we assume is a test. The notification is silent, only appears when the phone is locked, is dismissable, and can bug out a bit in certain dark mode implementations, like Samsung's One UI.
Microsoft's Outlook email application has seen update after update over the past few months, adding features like photo annotation and audio playback of emails. Now the app has added another incredibly useful function: the ability to customize which actions appear on notifications for new emails.
YouTube has a few different methods of notifying you about new videos from specific channels, including push notifications on the mobile apps, alerts on the desktop site, and email. However, the last option is going away, as Google alleges email alerts aren't used very often.
Chrome 84 entered beta just a few weeks ago, but it's already rolling out on the stable channel across all platforms. This is one of the most significant Chrome updates we've seen in a while, with a few removed features and new functionality for both regular people and developers. Let's dive right in!
The Sounds application, which comes pre-installed on Google's Pixel devices, is stock-full of ringtones, alarms, and notification sounds for you to choose from. The app works on non-Pixel phones too, like the Galaxy S10, but not all. That's why we've decided to share with you all the sound files included in it, so you can use them on any device (including your desktops if you like that).
Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." The same is true for notification prompts in web browsers — what was once used sparingly for email clients and other web applications turned into yet another thing to close when attempting to read almost any site on the internet. While Google has already taken steps to reduce the number of notification popups you see while browsing the web, the company is now cracking down on sites that actively trick people into enabling them.