Many would agree, yours truly included, that Google is very close to perfecting the Android notification system. It has been the envy of many on a different mobile OS (ahem, a fruit-themed one perhaps) and yet, Google has not ported it to its other major project, Chrome OS. Well, it’s looking like this is about to change. Kevin Tofel from About Chromebooks has discovered a new entry in the always-enlightening Chrome Gerrit, which sheds light on a new feature coming to ChromeOS v91: App Notification Badging.
This isn’t the half-baked solution we currently have behind the #enable-notification-indicator flag, which only displays a notification dot. Instead, we’re talking about a proper badge that can display the number of active notifications for that specific app and can function even when the app window is closed, just same as the desktop version of Chrome can do right now. This is at least how I hope this will work.
Each time the Badging API is used, we record the current time in the Web App database.
We introduce a flag kDesktopPWAsAttentionBadgingCrOSApiOverridesNotifications
On Chrome OS, notifications only trigger display of a badge if the Badging API has not been used by the app scope in the past 14 days.Source: Chromium Gerrit
The above also seems to suggest that this will be initially available via a flag that will use the Badging API to override regular notifications. It is described in more detail in the design doc which states:
Where a desktop PWA has used the Badging API to set a badge, or the API has been used at all in the past 14 days, the API exclusively determines if a badge is shown or not. Otherwise, we use notifications to decide when a badge is shown.Source: Chromium Gerrit Design Doc
This feature is expected to ship with Chrome OS version 91, which should be coming to the stable channel on June 1st. I can can’t to get a peek of this feature once it hits the Beta channel where I am sitting comfortably right now on Chrome OS 90. It will also be interesting to see how this feature behaves in conjunction with Phone Hub and the issue we’re seeing right now with notifications being doubled. This is definitely something that needs to be ironed out before notification badges arrive, but we shall see. I’m curious to hear what you think, though: do you prefer badges over notifications, or vice versa? Let me know in the comments below.