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How to Enable Desktop Notifications for Google Calendar in Chrome

One of the primary features that kept me using Outlook’s calendar was the desktop notifications that popped up to remind me when it was time for another boring meeting. Now with Google Calendar and Chrome notifications, I’ll never miss the chance to sleep through another meeting.

Seriously, meetings are boring.

But more to the point, if you’re using Google Chrome there’s a built-in desktop notifications feature, and all you have to do is enable a Labs feature in Google Calendar to get it to start showing notifications on your desktop.

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Make Sure Chrome Has Desktop Notifications Enabled

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that Chrome is set to allow desktop notifications. Head into Tools –> Options –> Under the Hood –> Content settings.

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Next, select Notifications on the left-hand side, and then make sure the middle option for “Ask me when a site wants to show desktop notifications” is selected. You may want to click on the Exceptions button and make sure Google Calendar isn’t blocked in there.

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Enable Desktop Notifications in Google Calendar

Now that we’ve made sure Chrome is configured properly, you’ll want to head into Google Calendar, open up the Settings link in the top right, and then go to the Labs section.

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Find the “Gentle Reminders” item in the list, click the Enable button, and then Save at the bottom. If the option is already enabled but you aren’t getting desktop notifications, you should disable it, Save, and then Enable it again.

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Once you’ve clicked the Save button you’ll see a bar show up across the top of the window, and you’ll need to click the Allow button.

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As soon as you do, you’ll see a sample notification to show up on the bottom of the screen.

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You’ll have to manually close out of the notifications, which is slightly annoying sometimes, but it’s probably a good thing so you won’t miss an important reminder.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/13/10

Comments (20)

  1. Hatryst

    Hurry up, don’t be late for the meeting :D

  2. Amos

    Is there a way to get/enable the same feature for firefox browser?

  3. Razvan

    But you need to have google chrome open all the time for this to work ?

  4. Purimcarnival

    @Razvan I would like to know the same thing. If chrome needs to be open for it to work then it seems pointless

  5. Tom

    This is fantastic! If only they (Google) would do the same with Gmail!

  6. Jon

    No thanks to anything Google.

  7. JDMaker1

    Chrome is “always open” when you use OSX, unless you go out of your way to close it. It’s a pretty useful feature.

  8. zen

    @Purimcarnival: unfortunately it doesn’t work when you close Chrome (even if you stop only the Google calendar process)…this makes it useless for me also…

  9. Jon_S

    @zen
    You could set up a way with AutoHotkey to hide a chrome window. This way you could have chrome in the background without it being the least bit visible.

  10. Matt

    My content settings window is different/older/newer – displays horizontally, no “Notifications” option. What gives?

  11. Battlesnake

    As someone who pretty much always has chrome open, but doesn’t want a calendar tab open, pinning the tab at least gets it out of the way.

  12. zen

    @Jon_S: the problem isn’t only the visibility (i know “cmd+h”) but: does two hundreds MB plus (chrome + extensions + the gcal tab running) make sense only for receive a notification? :)

  13. Ed

    I’m using the Canary build and while I’m able to follow your settings, they don’t seem to enable the notifications. Any suggestions?

  14. Steve

    I don’t see “Gentle Reminders” as an option in my Labs section. I’m using Chrome 6.0.472.55 in Windows 7. Has Google removed the “Gentle Reminders” lab option?

  15. James Carlos

    Thanks! Just enabled it.

    @Steve, yeah it’s still there in Calendar Settings -> Labs. I am using Google Apps version if that helps.

  16. Cameron

    Nice Tip! I like this one! If only I could convince my work to move away from outlook…

  17. Rachelle

    I’ve done everything it says to do here…..but there is no bar at the top that asks me to “Allow” or “Deny” — what do I do now??

  18. Daniel

    Is it me or is the Gentle Remainders gone?

  19. David

    Daniel, I just installed it a few minutes ago – works just as the instructions showed

  20. Dino

    Thanks Dear, Great Tip

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