Microsoft Edge gets smarter about handling annoying website notifications

It'll use crowdsourced information to determine how it deals with those pop-ups.


Website notifications are a plague on the modern internet. Typically, they ask for your permission to receive automatic updates from specific sites, but many people just find them to be an annoyance that gets in the way of their web browsing. To alleviate that, Microsoft recently added a feature to its Edge browser that automatically quieted those notifications. The only problem? It was confusing for the few users who wanted to interact with them.

Now, Microsoft says it's taking a new approach: With the latest Edge 88 release, it's crowdsourcing data about how users deal with those pop-ups. The company will track the options people choose -- to allow, block, ignore or dismiss notifications entirely -- and compile that information into an annoyance score. If the number is too high, Edge will automatically quiet notifications from that site. Microsoft says it'll continue to tweak this feature during the experimental period, and it'll take in user feedback as well.

"We will use updated data regularly so sites can provide the full prompt to their users when they get better acceptance rates from their users," the Edge team wrote in a blog post. "This should be a strong motivator for sites to follow best practices and request notifications when they think users are most likely to accept. For sites providing quiet requests, we will provide random chance of providing the full prompt so we can continue to measure whether the site should provide the full prompt with improved user experience."

If you're a curmudgeon like me, and just want every website to pipe down, you can also flip on the "Quiet notification requests" option in Edge's settings. Microsoft has also added a few other notification tweaks recently: Edge can send push notifications even when it's close (starting with version 85). The browser can now also automatically dismiss full screen Windows 10 notifications without requiring you to do anything.