Google Adds Notification Center And Rich Notifications To Chrome Beta 28, Will Work Even When The Browser Is Closed

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This isn’t exactly the launch of Google Now for the desktop, which many of us have been patiently waiting for, but Google today announced that it is bringing a richer notifications experience to Chrome, starting with the latest beta. This definitely feels like it brings Google Now yet another step closer to the desktop.

These new notifications, which developers can easily add to their own Chrome packaged apps and extensions, will pop up outside of the browser window and live in a center outside of the browser, so users will be able to receive notifications, even if the browser is not open.

This feature is now available for Windows and Chrome OS users. Google says it’s coming to OS X and Linux “soon.”

Chrome, of course, already features basic web notifications (and if you’re a Chrome and Google Apps user, you’ve probably seen them from services like Gmail). These rich notifications go a step further, though, as developers can add their own full-bleed icons, images, headlines and short messages to them. Developers can also decide for how long notifications should stay on the screen by specifying different priorities for each alert.

The new notification center will be available through the Windows system tray or from the Chrome OS launcher.

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Last week, Google also announced its new Cloud Messaging for Chrome push notification service. While Google doesn’t mention them in today’s announcement, there is no reason why those push notifications couldn’t soon arrive in the new notifications center, too.

You can find a full changelog of what’s new in Chrome 28 here.