Microsoft is trying a new solution for the persistent “would you like to allow notifications from this website” requests that you see across the internet: crowdsourcing data on which ones people block and which ones they allow. According to a blog post today, Microsoft is calling this feature adaptive notification requests, and the company is rolling it out in Edge 88 after it received positive feedback from testers.
For an example of how this works, say there’s a website that commonly asks for notifications, and nobody wants them. They’ll either ignore the request or click the block button to make sure they never see it again. Microsoft then collects that data and will stop showing new users the notification request in the future.
If enough people click “block,” Edge will stop showing the notification request to users.
In previous versions, Edge made the notification requests “quiet” by default, meaning they would automatically be blocked and show up as a bell icon in the address bar that users could click to opt in. In the blog post, Microsoft says this fixed the complaints from users about getting too many of the requests but introduced new problems: mainly, people stopped enabling notifications altogether, even on sites where many users used to enable them.
Edge’s quiet notification was unobtrusive but easy to miss. Image: Microsoft
The new version is looking to strike a balance between showing users notification requests that they may actually want and hiding the ones they don’t — ones that don’t make the cut will be automatically “quieted.”
Microsoft isn’t leaving users who never want to receive the requests (like myself) out in the cold, though: you can reenable quiet notification requests by going to Settings, Cookies and Site Permissions, then Notifications to toggle them back on. Microsoft will also turn on Quiet Notifications automatically if you click “block” on three notification requests in a row. Edge will also automatically block notifications from a site if a user dismisses a request with the X button three times in a row or ignores it by clicking elsewhere on the page four times in a row.
If you don’t use Edge but are on edge from all the notification requests, we have a guide on how to turn them off in all of the major browsers. However, it’d be nice to see Chrome and others adopt a feature similar to this, where notification requests that are spammy and annoying are hidden, but genuinely useful ones (like, say, for Gmail) are shown to users.