Google released Chrome 42 this week through its beta channel for Android, Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. The latest Chrome beta previews a couple of interesting features that make web apps more like native apps including push notifications and saving web apps to your Android home screen faster…

Chrome 42 Beta allows web developers to support push notifications to users through Google’s web browser. Similar to Safari on OS X, push notifications on Chrome require explicit user permission before being turned on. But unlike Safari push notifications, Chrome will present a somewhat unattractive but highly useful ‘site settings’ link right on each notification banner to allow users to easily opt out of future alerts without having to actually find the correct settings menu to opt out.

After the user has granted permission, a developer can use the new Push API to remotely wake up their service worker using Google Cloud Messaging. Once awake, the service worker may run JavaScript for a short period but in this release it is required at minimum to show a user-visible notification.

Specifically on the Android side, web developers can now promote their high quality web apps to frequent site visitors with a new ‘add to home screen’ button. The banner will appear on the bottom of the web site and allow users to save sites that “meet eligibility criteria that ensure that users have a good experience when launching sites from the home screen, even when offline.”

Aside from push notifications and better web app saving, Chrome 42 Beta includes under-the-hood changes for developers as well. You can read more about the latest version on the official Chromium blog.

About the Author