Native applications still hold many benefits over their web counterparts, but Mozilla is looking to narrow that gap by building a push notification system that will allow websites to alert users on their desktop computers or mobile devices. Outlined by Mozilla developer Jeff Balogh, the system is fairly straightforward: a website or web app is provided a unique URL for a given user that points to Mozilla's Notification Service. After the user grants permission, the website can then pass along notifications to Mozilla's servers, which will deliver them via Firefox on the user's desktop computer or Android device, or via Firefox Home on iOS (Boot to Gecko will also be supported).
Chrome offers some version of this functionality already with notifications in Gmail and other sites, but as Ars Technica rightly points out, Chrome requires that you keep the notifying website open in your browser. Mozilla's solution would allow any website to notify you as long as you have the appropriate app running on your device. Balogh cautions that the service is still in the developmental stages and the API is not yet finalized, but the service has the promise to bring even greater functionality to websites without the need for additional overhead or specialized infrastructure. Whether it will help reverse Firefox's decline in marketshare, however, remains to be seen.