Instead Of Getting Sherlocked, Growl Plans To Make Notifications Better In Mountain Lion



Apple has brought the iOS 5 Notification Center to the Mac with OS X Mountain Lion. The new interface displays incoming notifications from different apps in one place, mimicking the functionality of the Mac app called Growl. You’ve most likely used Growl before whether you know it or not, as the tool integrates with many popular Mac apps for displaying notifications through popups.

With the birth of Notification Center on the Mac in Mountain Lion, one would assume that Growl has been sherlocked. According to the app’s developers, that is not the case. In fact, Grow will make Mountain Lion’s notification system even better.

Growl recently received a major overhaul for the Mac App Store that now includes a notification history window in addition to the disappearing bubbles most are familiar with. The app is currently a top-seller in the Mac App Store and is available for $1.99.

The developers of Growl state their plans for the future:

Growl is alive and kicking. We are still actively working on shipping two future versions of Growl. Our understanding from press reports at this point is that Notification Center is only available to apps from the Mac App Store, which effectively locks out the entire class of applications that aren’t or can’t be in the store.

We’re investigating options for integrating Growl with Notification Center. It’s pretty early on, but we expect to find some way to provide integration for both developers and users.  We want the work that developers have to do to add notification support to their application running on 10.6-10.8 to be painless and seamless.

It looks like Growl will become the Notification Center alternative for the more adventurous Mac users, and the developers are working with other third-party app makers to get Growl support integrated into more Mac App Store titles.

Growl will continue to be the best tool for custom notifications on the Mac. Unlike Apple’s Notification Center, Growl lets you use different popup themes for specific apps and even customize the duration of a notification.

Notification Center in OS X Mountain Lion

We’ve already told you about Hiss, a new Mountain Lion app that automatically forwards Growl notifications to Notification Center. Assuming that the Growl framework will be able to mesh with Notification Center, we should see even better options for custom notifications when Apple’s next desktop operating system ships.

(image via Beautiful Pixels)

  • Mal Bakker

    From lemons to lemonade.

    As a long time Growl user I’m pleased to see this type of response and no doubt the product will be worthy of support.

  • Kuipo

    Meh.  Never liked growl.  They never implemented it in a clean manner that seemed to jive with the rest of the OS.  I don’t see much of a future for it after M.Lion.  Even with all this work, the “benefits” of it are minimal at best for a rather big investment from the developer over just using the built in notifications.

    I think programs that already have it built in will use it for a little while, but eventually I see them dropping it for an easier alternative with notification center.

    (P.S.  While I don’t use it, nor like it… I understand it’s nice for some people.  Also, as someone who works in the software development world… I feel for the developers of Growl and I’m glad to see them try to evolve their product rather than just try to be an alternative to the built in standard.)

  • NeatMan

    As a cheap bastard (and long time Growl user), I’m not sure whether this is worth paying for.  I’m using Growl Fork… which is the last free version of Growl that’s been patched to run on Lion.  It still does the one simple thing that Growl is supposed to do–show notifications.  If the $1.99 version has a bunch of extra features, I’m not interested.

    And now that that functionality will be baked into the operating system in a few months’ time, I’m not sure that the free version of Growl will be necessary at all.

  • Darren N Sally

    if it will be anything like Intelliscreen X for iOS notification centre that would be awesome! ISX was awesome on iOS 4 and i thought NC in 5 would have killed it but I wouldnt use notification centre in iOS without ISX, so just like that, im sure growl will prevail.

  • Christopher Forsythe

    Can you go into more detail about what you meant in the first part of the first paragraph? The part about not jiving with the rest of the OS.

  • Dilbert A

    I think he was referring to the design language. Even with skins, Growl looks a little out of place at times.

  • CharliK

    I have to agree. I have never been overwhelmed by Growl and in particular have been annoyed by apps that didn’t give me a choice in using it. So much so that I uninstalled several apps. 

    If ML has the same ability to turn off notifications as the iOS version does I will be very happy with it.