While there are certainly times when notifications from websites can be useful, many people find them to be little more than an irritation and a distraction. This is something that Mozilla and Google are already well aware of, and both companies have taken steps to introduce quieter notifications in Firefox and Chrome. Now Microsoft is following suit with Edge.
With the latest version of Edge now being based on the same Chromium engine as Chrome, this is hardly surprising, and it is a move that will be welcomed by users who have been driven to distraction by an endless stream of notifications.
Microsoft has introduced the 'Quiet notification requests' feature in Edge 84, and it is enabled by default in the browser. The new feature doesn't disable notifications completely – Microsoft notes that many people rely on some notifications such as those generated by their online calendar, for example – but reduces them to a simple bell icon in the address bar.
This essentially acts as a block for popup notifications, but still alerts you to the fact that the site is trying to get your attention. By clicking the bell icon, you can opt to allow future notifications from that particular site. It's a simple idea, but an effective solution to what is a real problem for many people. Microsoft also says that it is "currently exploring turning on the full flyout prompt when data suggests users find a given site’s notification request valuable" – but the company hasn't expanded on this further.
If you decide that quiet notifications aren't for you, you can disable the feature. You'll just need to pay a visit to edge://settings/content/notifications in the browser and turn off the 'Quiet notification requests' setting.
Do not disturb
But Microsoft's tinkering with notification doesn't end there. Changes are also on the cards for the way high priority Toast notifications (which, as their name implies, pop up at the bottom of your screen) appear in the Action Center in Windows 10. Microsoft has received feedback from users that notifications can quickly stack up here because they do not disappear automatically without being clicked.
With the arrival of Edge 85, this will change. Notifications will vanish after 25 seconds regardless of whether you interact with them. This reduces the problem of getting overwhelmed with notifications and saves you the time and effort involved in manually dismissing those you don't need to see. The company says it will provide more information about this change soon, and we'll be sure to keep you updated.
- Check out our review of Microsoft Edge.