Google Cloud Messaging Adds Support For Topics And iOS Push Notifications

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Google today announced that its Cloud Messaging push notification service now supports sending push notifications to iOS devices. In addition, Google now allows developers to set up so-called ‘topics’ within their apps so users can choose the subjects they are interested in getting notified about without developers having to set up any special infrastructure.

When Google launched Cloud Messaging, the service only focused on Android devices, but these days, it also supports sending push notifications to the browser (and, in the most recent versions, that’s linked to the native notifications services in OS X and Windows 8).

Over 600,000 Android apps already use the service, which has now send out over 7 billion messages. With this update, iOS developers can now also use Google’s cloud-based service to send notifications to their users.

By adding iOS support, Google’s push notifications platform for developers now supports all of the major platforms, which now makes it a far more attractive solution for developers — especially those who write cross-platform apps.

Topics are a new concept for the notifications service. Basically, developers can now ask users what they are interested in when they sign up for notifications from an app. A news app, for example, could ask you what kind of news stories you want to get alerts about. That way, you can get notifications about major world news but not sports, for example.

Developers can also use this feature programmatically. A game developer, for example, could send a notification to the players who have already finished a certain level or who play a certain kind of character in a role-playing game.

With this update, Google is also adding a new feature to Chrome mobile that allows developers to prompt users to save a site to their home screen when they frequently visit a certain tech news site, for example.