Google Can Subscribe to Push Notifications
Google announced a new Chrome 86 feature that included the news that Google’s “automated web crawling service” can subscribe to push notifications. The reason for doing that is to identify abusive push notifications for the purpose of blocking them in Chrome.
Is Googlebot Subscribing to Push Notifications?
It’s unclear if the phrase “automated web crawling service” is a reference to Googlebot or some other crawler.
The Chrome announcement refers to it as an automated Chrome instance as well an automated web crawling service.
But it does not call it Googlebot.
If the crawler is not Googlebot then what bot could it be and what is the user agent?
If it’s a reference to Googlebot then that represents a change from how Googlebot is known to to behave. More on this below.
Also, Google didn’t state that it’s subscribing to all push notifications for evaluation. It said that it was occasionally doing it.
According to Google Chrome’s announcement:
“Google’s automated web crawling service will occasionally subscribe to website push notifications if the push permission is requested.
Notifications that are sent to the automated Chrome instances, using Safe Browsing technology, will be evaluated for abusive content, and sites sending abusive notifications will be flagged for enforcement if the issue is unresolved.”
Why Google May Subscribe to Push Notification
Google is subscribing to push notifications to test if they’re abusive and malicious. If they are found to be abusive the site will be subject to having the notifications blocked by Chrome.
Site publishers will be notified of the findings by email and Google Search Console.
Regarding enforcement, the announcement says this:
“The new enforcement in Chrome 86 focuses on notification content and is triggered by sites that have a history of sending messages containing abusive content.”
Read more here.