A look at Microsoft Edge's new Quiet Notifications system

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 27, 2020
Internet, Microsoft Edge

All modern web browsers support notification APIs that allow sites to push short messages to user devices once the request to accept notifications from that particular site has been accepted by the user.

What has been designed as a way for sites to keep users informed, e.g. of new events, auctions that are running out, new articles or tips, has turned into an Internet-wide overload of notification prompts and notifications; many serve no other purpose than to push advertisement to user systems.

Browser makers started to address issues associated with browser notifications recently. Google introduced quieter notifications in Chrome 80, and Mozilla toned down web notification requests in Firefox 72 as well. The systems have in common that they hide the big request prompts in the browser's user interface when enabled and move it to the browser's address bar instead.

Microsoft added quiet notifications support to its new Microsoft Edge 84 web browser recently as well. The company revealed that it talked to users of its browser to find out more about the real-world use of notifications. It found out that users disliked notification requests, especially when it was not cleared what the site intended to do with the permission and when they did not know anything about the site, but that there were cases in which notifications were used.

Microsoft enabled Quiet notification requests for all users in Microsoft Edge 84, and added an option to the settings to disable the feature. Most users probably want to keep it turned on though as it hides notification prompts on all visited sites in Edge and moves indicators to the Edge toolbar instead.

With quiet requests enabled, site notification requests made via the Notifications or Push APIs will appear as a bell labeled “Notifications blocked” in the address bar, as opposed to the typical full flyout prompt.

Edge displays a bell icon in the address bar when a site tries to get permission for sending notifications to the user device; this is the case even when the request was initiated by the user, e.g. by clicking on a bell icon on the site.

edge notifications blocked

A click or tap on the icon displays the prompt, and it is possible to allow or deny it.

The main effect of moving the requests to the address bar is that users are no longer hammered by requests on the Internet. It is possible to do nothing and not be bothered by notification permission requests.

Managing notifications in Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge quiet notification requests

Edge users may load edge://settings/content/notifications to manage notifications in the browser. The options allow users to block all notifications in the browser, to manage allow and deny lists, and to turn quiet notifications on or off.

  1. Ask before sending (recommended) -- Enabled by default to allow sites to push requests for notifications to the user. Disable to turn notifications off.
  2. Quiet notification requests -- Enabled by default to redirect notification prompts to the address bar to avoid user frustration with prompts. Disable to restore the regular notification prompts.
  3. Block and Allow -- Useful to block certain sites from ever displaying notifications or to allow certain sites to display notifications.

Closing Words

Depending on your use of the Internet, you may not see that many notification prompts or you may be bombarded by them every day. While there are certainly legitimate uses, most sites that implement notifications use them more for advertisement or outright malicious intents.

Now You: Do you make use of notifications on the Internet?

A look at Microsoft Edge's new Quiet Notifications system
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A look at Microsoft Edge's new Quiet Notifications system
Microsoft added quiet notifications support to its new Microsoft Edge 84 web browser to make notifications on the Internet less annoying.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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