Find out the moment when anything happens. Whether it’s a package showing up at your door or the start of your favorite TV show. Whether it’s a website you love publishing a new story or some site making changes you need to keep up with, there are apps for keeping you up-to-date.
We’ve talked a lot about notifications over the years, from interesting ways to use Google News to stay on top of certain topics to adding basically anything to your Mac’s notification center. Today we’re looking at five apps that let you set up even more notifications, so let’s dive right in.
Hooks (Android): Notifications for Everything
We’ll start with a simple Android app that lets you set up all kinds of notifications. You can set up entertainment items, like when your favorite sports team is playing or your favorite TV show is about to start. You can set up tracking for any package you’re waiting on. You can find out when it’s going to rain, or when any site you love posts a new article. There’s a lot of flexibility.
It’s not the only app that lets you create custom notifications: Pushbullet lets you subscribe to channels for notifications and with IFTTT you can create recipes for anything you want to be regularly notified about. Both of those apps, however, serve some primary function other than notifications and as such take a while to set up. If you want notifications, and only notifications, Hooks is what you’ve been looking for.
Blog Trottr: Get Email Newsletters from Sites That Don’t Offer Them
We’ve shown you how RSS works more than once, and really recommend you use an RSS reader to keep up with your favorite websites. But if you’d rather your favorite websites’ articles come to you, Blog Trottr is a free service that turns any RSS feed into an email newsletter.
Paste in the RSS feed, enter your email address, and choose how often you’d like to get updates. The free plan gives you a lot of flexibility, but if you want to remove ads and customize the look of the emails you need to opt for a paid subscription.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for sites like ours, with over ten updates a day (subscribe to our newsletter instead). But for sites that update occasionally and irregularly, this could be a great way to make sure you keep up.
Change Detection: Find Out When Any Website Changes
Maybe there’s a site you’d like notifications for that doesn’t offer an RSS feed. In that case, ChangeDetection is a good site to know about. This free service lets you monitor when any static page is changed, and will email you to notify you of changes.
This is a pretty old-school tool: it’s meant to monitor text files. Using it on many modern websites is going to give you problems. But if there’s a basic text page you want to monitor for changes – a terms of service, for example – it’s a good service to know about.
Desktop Notifications for Android (Android, Firefox, Chrome): A Free Pushbullet Alternative [No Longer Available]
You can set up all sorts of notifications on your phone, many of which aren’t offered on the desktop. Pushbullet, the beloved service for syncing your notifications between platforms for just this reason, has gone freemium. Many users are disappointed with the pricing, and with previously-free features becoming paid. We outlined free alternatives to Pushbullet, but if you’re mostly interested in notifications, this combination of an Android app and browser extension is worth looking into.
I gave this a spin and it worked perfectly — notifications from my phone showed up in Chrome and Firefox without issue. If you want a simple free alternative to Pushbullet, this might be it, just know that advanced features like SMS syncing aren’t offered.
Horntell (Chrome): All of Your Web Notifications in One Place
Lots of sites offer browser notifications, but you need to keep them open in order to see them. Horntell is a Chrome extension, and eventually mobile service, that lets you receive all of your notifications in one place so you can stay on top of them.
Currently it doesn’t support many apps, but if you’re an avid user of tools like Trello and Basecamp it won’t take long to find a use for the service. You’ll need a Facebook account to sign in.
What Other Notifications Services Are Out There?
These are the best notification apps I could find, but I sometimes miss the very best ones. So I want to know what you’ve found. Please fill me in using the comments below – I’m looking forward to the conversation!