I don’t know if you noticed the celebration in the news, but last week was the 30th anniversary of the invention of the web.
It’s changed a bit since then – in lots of ways. More pictures, more fancy looking webpages, more things you can do on the internet rather than just read information on it…
One thing that’s become common in the last few years is websites asking to send you “push notifications”.
You’ve probably had this – when you go on a website, you get a message appear saying the website would like to send you notifications. Sometimes it explains why… sometimes not.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a tablet, PC or phone – you can get them on all devices.
Personally I usually click no – at first I clicked no because I didn’t know what they were! Nowadays I click no because it’s simply not how I like to use the web.
But what actually are these “web push notifications”? Well, I’ll tell you.
It’s a way for a website owner to send you little snippets of information (usually with a link to the website for more detail on it) even when you’re not on that particular website.
The notifications will appear on the screen in Windows 10 or usually at the top of your phone or tablet. They’ll tell you a tiny bit – like a sort of news headline. Then if you click or tap on them, they’ll take you to the website for the full story.
For example, if you allow a weather website to send you notifications, it might send you a daily notification saying what the forecast is. Or it might not send you so many – it might only send you one when there’s a weather warning.
Or when I visit Formula 1 sites to read up on that, they often ask me to allow notifications so they can send them to me every time they’ve got some new news or a new article about Formula 1.
By the way, sometimes people call them web notifications, sometimes people call them web push notifications – it’s the same thing.
They’re slightly different from notifications from an app you have on your phone, since those ones don’t come from you accepting the offer when you’re on a website, they come from you allowing the app you installed to send you notifications. But they often look pretty similar.
As I say, I usually don’t allow these web notifications, but I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them. It’s just not how I like to use the web – I prefer to go to the website or use the app when I want to see news about a particular thing, rather than being interrupted by it. And I definitely don’t want to get notifications about Formula 1, telling me who’s won the race, if I recorded it and haven’t watched it yet!
Up to you, though – there’s nothing wrong with allowing them if they work for you. My advice would be to only allow them if you really want, though, otherwise you could end up with umpteen websites sending you notifications all the time!