Earlier this year, Google had introduced Chrome Push API allowing web developers and websites to send push notifications to users accessing their mobile websites to increase their engagement on their websites. Facebook has now incorporated that code and people who are using its mobile website instead of native app can also receive notifications like app users.
While this may not affect the app users who do not have any limits in their mobile storage space or internet bandwidth speed, it could well prove to be a crucial step towards bringing more people from developing countries where most rely on Facebook mobile website.
Facebook’s mobile website is quite light on data usage and is said to be incredibly fast without occupying too much space on mobile.
However mobile website lacks instant notifications which are a significant part of its native app, due to which there could be less engagement of users on mobile website. Now with push notifcations enabled on website also, Facebook expects to see a considerable increase in user re-engagement on mobile website. In fact according to Jonathan McKay who is Facebook’s product manager on browser partnerships, they have already seen an increase in visits from launching push notifications.
He said that Push via Chrome is “a great lever for re-engagement to the site [from]…people who might not use Facebook as much”. He added that with push alerts enabled on mobile website, mobile users don’t have to proactively go the website to check out important news from friends and they would get push notifications about the best content from their news feed.
One can activate this feature by accessing m.facebook.com from the latest version of Chrome Mobile and clicking on Allow when one is prompted to do so. The setting can be changed by going to the Notification settings under the Settings tab of Facebook
Google is expecting more browsers in future to incorporate its mobile web push notifications standard. Currently with Chrome and Opera already stable, it is expected to come to Firefox 42 in November and UC browser from China is also planning to bring this feature to emerging markets. However, with multiple browsers supporting these notifications there is a challenge of duplicate notifications being sent to users and companies are working together to limit these duplicate alerts by detecting the preferred interface of user and sending notifications accordingly.
One thing is sure though, now with push notifications successfully tested, there is no longer any need for developing a full scale native app for business or services as they can get the same level of user engagement from their mobile websites which they could have got with an app.