Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, is now working on a solution for push notifications that are platform independent. The service will work both on your PC, mobile and tablet, regardless if the operating system is from Apple, Microsoft or Google.

Push notifications are very common on smart phones and tablets today. There are notifications on the phone when you have a new comment or “like” on Facebook, even if you use a different program when it happens.

The concept has been in use for many years, but it has largely been excluded from regular web browsers for a long time. Mozilla is trying to change this. Jeff Balogh is a developer at Mozilla, and on his blog he explains how it works:

  1. The website gets a URL where it can send notifications to the user. The URL points to the Notification Service, and is a secret between the user and the website.
  2. The site sends a notification to the Notification Service.
  3. The Notification Service delivers the message to Firefox on the desktop, on Android, on Boot to Gecko, or on iOS through Firefox Home; we’ll find the right place to deliver the message.

To start sending push notifications, the website you visit needs to ask the user for permission. Here’s some example code from Mozilla:

Push notifications and pop-ups share a few resemblances. They are both a message that pops up on the screen, but push messages are meant to be a more flexible approach. You will have to ask a website to provide a specific and often short notice, and they will only be received if you have your browser open.

In other words, you don’t have to be on Facebook to get a message from the site, you might as well read a newspaper when a small window pops up to give you a message. In several contexts, Mozilla imagine that this could replace SMS or e-mail notification.