Definition

push notification

Contributor(s): Colin Steele

Push notification, also called server push notification, is the delivery of information from a software application to a computing device without a specific request from the client.

Unlike pull notifications, in which the client must request information from a server, push notifications originate from a server.  Typically, the end user must opt-in to receive alerts; opt-in usually takes place during the install process and end users are provided with a way to manage alerts if they change their minds later on. 

An important advantage of push notifications in mobile computing is that the technology doesn't require specific applications on a mobile device to be open in order for a message to be received. This allows a smartphone to receive and display social media  or text message alerts even when the device's screen is locked and the social media application that is pushing the notification is closed.  

Different devices and services rely on different methods to deliver push notifications. Apple developers, for example, can use the Apple Push Notification Service's Developers application programming interface (APIs) to have their apps deliver push notifications to iOS devices. Another approach is to use mobile backend as a service (mobile BaaS) cloud services to provide push notification functionality for a mobile app

See also: contextual marketing messages

This was last updated in July 2016

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Thanks for the Great Video. Apart from Mobile App notification, Browser push notification is possible in Chrome and Safari, and soon in Firefox. These appear on both desktop and mobile browsers.

Full Disclosure: Our company - PushEngage, offers tools & API to manage browser push notification.
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What is your user experience with mobile push notifications?
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Invasive, intrusive, annoying. While push has the potential to provide an essential service, there need to be far more controls. End users should be able to determine exactly what they want pushed their way, when (and if) they want it be notified about it and finally when and how they want to see whatever's been pushed. Far to many companies think they're the only ones that matter and are prone inundate end users with anything that sports their logo. This "The Man Who Came to Dinner" approach ruins the value for every recipient.
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