The era of being bombarded with annoying pop-up notifications and alerts on your browser could be over soon, thanks to a new Google Chrome update.
The company has revealed how it’s making Chrome “a more useful browser” using machine learning tools running on the software that can turn off pop-ups before the user knows it.
The change, set to appear in Chrome 102 later this year, means the browser will be able to examine a webpage as it loads and predict whether permission for notifications or other prompts is likely to be granted. Otherwise, say if the site has been reported as annoying or malicious in the past, notifications will be blocked automatically.
Google Chrome Notifications
“On the one hand, page notifications help provide you with updates from sites that are important to you; on the other hand, notification permission prompts can become a nuisance,” Google noted in a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing the news.
“Our goal is to build a browser that is genuinely and continually useful, and we’re excited about the possibilities that ML offers.”
When visiting such a site, users will (ironically) receive an alert informing them that notifications have been blocked automatically.
Google added that because the update is built into Chrome itself, the ML models focus on your specific device and its usage, meaning your data remains private.
The move is the latest step by Google to use AI and machine learning to improve its users’ online experience.
The service is powered by a new machine learning model from Google that builds on work the company started with its Safe Browsing tool in Chrome, as well as its built-in phishing detection in Chrome to help identify malicious or criminal websites that move multiple URLs.
Since launching in March 2022, Google says the tool has identified “2.5x more potentially malicious websites and phishing attacks than the previous model – resulting in a safer, more secure web.”
The company also hopes to use the same technology in the future to provide users with a more engaging and intuitive toolbar in Chrome. The tool will display different buttons at certain times, for example showing the share button prominently on social media or the voice search button if a user is accessing Chrome on a mobile device.
Google intended to act on harmful notifications in October 2020 when it blocked website alerts (opens in new tab) who tried to ask permission or abuse notifications in a deceptive way, with users being told that the site may have bad intentions at heart.