Google Chrome is coming down hard on abusive notifications by bringing enforcements that explicitly discourage users to allow notifications from websites that have a history of sending messages containing abusive content. With Chrome 86, when Google will detect abusive notification content from an origin, it will automatically display the permission requests using a quieter UI. Google’s automated web crawling service will occasionally evaluate sites by subscribing to their notifications and flag them if they are found to practice unethical notification behaviour.
The tech giant explains in its blog that a new quieter UI has been introduced for keeping Chrome user’s browsing experience safe. Google asserts that the treatment applies only to those sites that try to trick users into accepting the notification permission for malicious purposes, like sending malware or mimicking system messages to obtain user login credentials. For these sites, the notification bell icon will be muted, and clicking on it will display a dialogue box that says notifications have been blocked. It reads, “This site may be trying to trick you into allowing intrusive notifications.” The user is then given the option to allow notifications anyway or to continue blocking them. The new notifications UI tweak is rolling out for mobile and desktop users both.
Google will take comprehensive steps to ascertain these threat sites. The company explains on its blog, “Google’s automated web crawling service will occasionally subscribe to website push notifications if the push permission is requested. Notifications that are sent to the automated Chrome instances, using Safe Browsing technology, will be evaluated for abusive content, and sites sending abusive notifications will be flagged for enforcement if the issue is unresolved.”
Google will also send an email to these site owners and users in the site’s Search Console at least 30 calendar days prior to the start of enforcement. The website can then address their notification issues in this 30-day grace period and request another review. It has also published a useful guide for site owners to quickly fix the abusive notifications problem.
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