Websites to Start Sending App-Style Alerts

All the major browser providers are working on features that will enable them to send alerts from websites through a PC or mobile operating system.

In 2015, most Web browsers will release the ability to push notifications to visitors. Sites that use the feature will be able to let visitors opt in to receive notifications. The site can then send them alerts even if that site isn't open in the browser at the time. The technology will be delivered on both PCs and mobile platforms, and will work in a similar way to the notifications delivered by mobile apps currently.

Michael van Ouwerkerk, a software engineer working on push notifications for Google’s Chrome team says:

“Once the user has opted in, Web apps will be able to provide timely information to the user without having to go through an installation process. For example, when you check your flight status on an airline’s mobile website, a single tap could subscribe you to updates on any delays."

The exact timing of releases isn't clear yet. Tim Varner, cofounder of Roost, a startup offering development tools for Web push notifications, says he expects major releases from Google and Mozilla to happen within a few months.

“In theory the app store could lose a little bit of its hold on the market,”

However, some caution is needed before jumping into the technology, as it's not yet fully standardised, so there's a danger of VHS/Betamax syndrome. Apple, Google and Mozilla are all currently exploring different approaches. The W3C web standards organisation has a group working on a standard, but it's not complete.

Read more here on the MIT blog.