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Following the release of Chrome 42 for desktop yesterday, Google today launched Chrome 42 for Android. You can download the new version now directly from Google Play.

Like its desktop counterpart, Chrome for Android now supports native push notifications. Developers can use the new Push API and Notifications API to have their sites send notifications to their users even after the given page is closed. Google promises users have to first grant explicit permission before they receive such a message, and for now at least, the notifications includes a “Site Settings” button where users can easily disable them.

We assume this works on Android like it does on Windows, Mac, and Linux: a developer can use Google Cloud Messaging to remotely wake up their service worker, which in turn can run JavaScript for a short period. We’ve reached out to Google for more information about anything that might be specific to the Android experience.

Next up, Google has tweaked how home screen promotion works. While Chrome 32 introduced the ability for Android users to add home screen shortcuts to their favorite websites via a menu item, Chrome 42 takes the functionality a step further by showing a banner. Users who frequently visit a high-quality web app will be asked if they want to add the site to their home screen with one tap:


If you’re a developer who wants to take advantage of this new feature, you have to meet the eligibility criteria (provide a Web App Manifest, serve all content using HTTPS, and at least partially work offline using a service worker), which will evolve over time based on feedback from users and developers. Google wants to ensure users have a good experience when launching sites from the Android home screen, including when they’re offline. More information about these “app install banners” is available here.

Last but not least, Chrome 42 is the last version to support Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Chrome 43, which should be out in the next six weeks or so, will require Android 4.1 or higher.


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