Insights

When it comes to customer engagement channels, web push is the new kid on the block. We’ve had email since the 1960s and traditional mobile app push notifications since 2009, but web push in its most basic form dates back only about five years. Learn how this key new channel came to be.

When it comes to customer engagement channels, web push is the new kid on the block. We’ve had email since the 1960s and traditional mobile app push notifications since 2009, but web push in its most basic form dates back only about five years.

Back in December 2014, Google brought web push notifications kicking and screaming into the world by adding support to this previously unknown message channel on their Chrome desktop browser. But while web push’s potential—namely making it possible to directly engage web users even when they’re not on a given webpage—was clear from day one, the functionality wasn’t really there. That first version of web push depended on Google Cloud Messaging to power its outreach and relied on custom API requests that weren’t a web standard, among other eccentricities, limiting its effectiveness and adoption by brands.


Opera added web push support later that year. And by December 2015, the landscape was changing. Google and Mozilla announced that Chrome 48 and Firefox 44, respectively, would include built-in support for a 2.0 approach to web push notifications. (Apple also began supporting a version of web push on version 7 of its desktop Safari browser, while Microsoft’s Edge browser kicked off web push support in 2018.) This modernized take on web push made the use of this messaging channel simpler and more scalable for marketing, growth, and engagement teams, and set the stage for more widespread adoption of this channel. And around this same time, a little company called Appboy—now Braze—announced web push support in December 2015, too, bringing this exciting new outreach tool to its hundreds of clients.

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Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.