At the top-right corner of every Google web page is your profile icon, web app launcher, and notifications. Google is now planning to deprecate the oft-used Notifications Widget from the navigation bar next month.
Introduced alongside Google+ back in 2011, the bell icon was aimed at quickly delivering notifications for the social network on whatever Google service you were using. Over time it grew to include Google Photos and Hangouts Chat, with the former service often serving up actions and alerts that appear in the Assistant tab.
Over the past day, users that opened the Notification Widget are seeing a warning message announcing the deprecation of the feature on March 7, 2019. After that date, the bell icon will disappear leaving users with just the profile avatar for account switching and other settings, as well as the app launcher.
After March 7, 2019, notifications for Google web products will no longer be accessible from the navigation bar. If you’d like to receive similar notifications in the future, you can update the notification settings for your individual Google products.
This comes as Google+ for consumers is set to be deprecated in April. When the Notifications Widget first launched with the social network, it seemed that alerts for other services could one day appear in the tray. However, Google never added other services, with Google Photos originally being “Google+ Photos,” while Hangouts and Plus have always had a close relationship.
Users that want to continue receiving notifications for Google+ enterprise, Photos, and Hangouts Chat are advised to head to the respective apps and enable alerts in settings.
Update 3/7: As of Thursday morning, the Notifications Widget is now gone from the Google bar. Existing pages will retain the bell icon, but a refresh or new Search will remove the button. The web app launcher is now right next to the profile avatar following today’s change.