Announcing Firebase Cloud Messaging for Web

Today we’re announcing web support for Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) with the release of a JavaScript library. This extends our current browser support, enables a dramatically simpler implementation process, and brings powerful features such as Topics and Device Group Messaging to the web.

Notifications are one of the most compelling tools for developers to build engaging experiences. Since we introduced the technology in Chrome, we’ve seen tremendous adoption, with more than 10B notifications being sent per day to websites. However, developers often tell us that implementing this feature on the Web can be challenging and that they want to access the same advanced features of FCM that are available on native notifications.

Firebase Cloud Messaging is a powerful system that already supports sending messages to iOS apps, Android apps, and Chrome. Starting today, developers can use FCM to send messages to browsers that support the Push API, allowing you to go beyond Chrome and also send to Firefox, Opera and others.

It is easier than ever to send notifications to your web users with the FCM JavaScript library, as FCM handles complex server-side features such as payload encryption and client-side features such as service workers.

You can use a default service worker implementation to get started quickly, and when you are ready to extend and override it, you can do so easily. In addition to this, when you’re using the FCM APIs, our servers can manage payload encryption for you. FCM users don’t need to change a thing in their server implementation to achieve this!

However, the technical aspect of web notifications is just a start. In order to make the most out of web notifications, you need to engage your users with the right content in the right manner. Check out our “What Makes a Good Notification?” post for best practices on notification content and “Best Practices for Push Notifications Permissions UX” post for tips on interacting with Web users to get permission for sending notifications.

Which FCM features are supported?

Beyond providing an easier client implementation, the FCM JavaScript library also brings important FCM features to the Web.

With the FCM JavaScript library, you can send web push notifications to single devices, topics or groups of devices. With the addition of topic support on the Web, we are making it possible for developers to send a message to their Android, iOS and Web users who have opted in to a particular topic. To take advantage of topics and device groups, you can use the server-side APIs to manage your topics and groups subscriptions.

Browser Coverage

Currently the FCM JavaScript library enables developers to reach browsers that have Push API support. Namely:

  • Chrome Desktop and Mobile (version 50+)
  • Firefox Desktop and Mobile (version 44+)
  • Opera on Mobile (version 37+)

Microsoft Edge has announced plans to support the Push API and Samsung Browser will be covered once they have message payload support. This coverage will increase over time as more browsers introduce support for service workers. Make sure to check out our release notes for updates!

How do I Get Started?

Just follow our Getting Started guide, and make sure to checkout our Firecast video!

What have our partners done?

We have been working with early adopters to test, refine, and unleash the power of the new FCM JavaScript library, and create the best possible Web notification experience for users. Below are some of their success stories:

“We were unable to find any effective solution for notifications until we found FCM… FCM is the best solution because of its rich features, stable performance, and easy deployment. — Zou Yu, Director of Mobile, the leading wholesale marketplace connecting overseas buyers with suppliers in China, implemented our solution in two days and saw 4X higher engagement for users who receive web notifications compared with users who visit the website directly. See the full case study.

”Firebase Cloud Messaging meets our requirements perfectly.” — Lijun Chen, Director, AliExpress

AliExpress, a global retail marketplace, saw a 93.4% higher open rate on the web compared to their app notifications, and a 178% higher conversion compared to mobile site users who do not receive notifications. The AliExpress team is continuing to expand their uses cases. For instance, to promote sales on 11th November (also referred to as “Double 11”) - a festival commonly celebrated by young Chinese singles and also one of the biggest online shopping events in the world - AliExpress will be using FCM to send notifications on its website to remind users to take advantage of discounts on items they are interested in. See the full AliExpress case study.

”The initial implementation was very easy - really a one-day job.” — Filip Procházka, Developer

Settle Up, a fast-growing startup that helps users track shared expenses, wanted to send notifications to users when changes were made to a bill. After implementing in a day, they began to see 37% higher engagement for users who receive web notifications. Moreover, as a user of Firebase Analytics, Crash Reporting, Hosting, and Test Lab, Settle Up was able to easily access all their tools through Firebase as a unified solution. See the full Settle Up case study.

Start now

Firebase Cloud Messaging is part of the Firebase platform and is available for free. We are excited to announce this launch and can’t wait to hear what you think!