Google Chrome is finally cracking down on websites that abuse push notifications. Chrome adds a new feature #Push-Subscription-With-Expiration-Time behind chrome://flags which will limit push notification subscriptions to 90 days, TheClubWindows has learned. This flag will allow push subscriptions to support an expiration time.

Misuse of Chrome Addressing Notifications

As of this writing, this flag is not available in the updated version of Chrome Canary. But according to Chromium Gerrit’s commitment, it has been successfully rebased and submitted to the updated version of Google Chrome Canary 86. Maybe the work is still in progress and we can expect this indicator of experimental feature is implemented for future releases of Chrome Canary in the coming days.

“This CL enables push subscriptions to support a timeout, set by Chrome in push_messaging_constants.h (currently 90 days),” the description reads.

“This feature is disabled by default, so to try it out you need to set –enable-features= PushSubscriptionWithExpirationTime.”

According to the Chromium developers, this will add an expiration time (90 days) when subscribing to push notifications and in the subscription method itself. This particular feature will cause the timeout attribute to flash.

“The expirationTime attribute will be generated via the push service. When you get it in the SubscriptionCallback (null is valid), it should be passed to the blink layer.

Google Chrome Push Validation

Chrome is likely to implement some UI changes that will prompt users to set their push notification subscription to expire after a specific time period. Whether or not users can customize the delay remains to be seen. First, it looks like this feature will clearly communicate subscription expiration when push notifications are first subscribed.

Several parties are involved in the whole process. After users subscribe to notifications, the subscription expiration information will be retrieved from the app_identifier and returned as a reminder to PushMessagingManager. Chrome will store the timeout in PushMessagingAppIdentifier. However, this has not yet been implemented. That said, this feature is actively under development.

Once this flag is available, you can enable it on Google Chrome Canary.

How to Enable Push Subscription With Expiration Time Flag in Chrome

  1. Open Chrome Canary
  2. Open chrome://flags
  3. Locate push subscription with expiration time
  4. Set the flag to Activate immediately when a tab is hidden using the drop-down menu
  5. Relaunch Chrome.

Basically, this feature will add an expiration date to subscriptions when subscribing to notifications. Meanwhile, Chrome has to decide where to save the timeout on the user agent side. Well, this feature will be optional and it will be up to the users whether or not they want their push subscriptions to expire after 90 days.

Chromium developers have been actively working on this feature for the past month. TheClubWindows spotted several Chromium Gerrit commits that confirm development.

We will update this article as soon as this experimental feature is reported. #Push-Subscription-With-Expiration-Time is available under chrome://flags.

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