Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has its sights set on mobile these days. Just last week, the company launched its new Chrome notification tool for Android, which allows websites to send push notifications to mobile devices.
Admittedly, web-based notifications don't sound all that revolutionary, until you consider that it could change the way companies interact with their online users. With the release of Chrome 42 for desktop and Android, sites like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) can now serve up mobile notifications without apps and without the user having to be on the webpage to receive them.
How it all works
Google has been talking about this for a while, but with this new feature out of beta -- and large companies already signing up to use it -- it could be yet another step in merging the mobile web with apps. In addition to Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, VICE News, and others are already getting in line to use it.
When an Android user visits a website -- eBay for instance -- a pop-up screen will appear, asking if the site can send notifications to the device. If you agree to it, notifications (like the one below) will pop up even when you're browsing the website.
For those who don't want any notifications from websites, a simple "Block" button will ensure the website will never be able to contact them, unless the user resets the settings.
In addition to notifications, Google wants to give Android users the ability to access parts of mobile websites even when the user is offline. On its Chromium blog, Google said it'll offer users the option to add high-quality mobile websites to their homepages with just one tap, if those sites offer offline information from the site (similar to how mobile apps offer information without always having to be online).
Of course, Android users have been able to add mobile sites to their home screens for a while, but only sites that provide offline information will be given the one-click preference to get on the home screen.
For now, the system only works on Chrome desktop and Android devices, but Google is working to make it available on Mozilla browsers. Ultimately, Google wants to standardize the system so it works across all web browsers and mobile devices.
So why is Google doing this?
In short, because Google wants to make sure mobile users are accessing the web (and seeing its ads) as much as possible.
Sure, Google makes money off of paid apps in its Google Play Store, but the company's mobile ad revenue share is on the decline -- while Facebook's is on the rise.
Back in January, Forbes writer Aaron Tilley said that in 2013 Google had about 50% of the mobile ad market, but it's down to 46.8% now, while Facebook "takes up a growing portion of the market."
And Cathy Boyle, the senior analyst for mobile at eMarketer, recently noted, "The explosion of mobile app development and usage means mobile users have more -- and more specialized -- alternatives for finding information."
In short, mobile users don't need to rely on the web as much to find information (which Google needs to serve up ads). This is helping Facebook eat into Google's mobile ad revenue share.
While mobile web ad spending is expected to increase by nearly 37% in 2016, eMarketer says that this year mobile app spending will outpace mobile web browser ad dollars by nearly three-to-one. Google is hoping that the latest changes to Chrome for Android will help keep mobile users on the web longer and in apps a little less, so it can hold onto its mobile web ad dominance just a little while longer.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay, Facebook, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay, Facebook, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.