Growl Comes Roaring Back

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With Apple’s release of beta code for the upcoming OS X Mountain Lion release, one thing had many folks talking.

The Notification Center, a very popular component of iOS 5, will be coming to Mac desktops and laptops when Mountain Lion is released. This led many (myself included) to think about how Growl would be able to continue when the OS began to incorporate that functionality natively.

Growl – for those who haven’t seen it – is a notification app that runs on nearly every Mac. If you use applications that pop up notification windows to alert you of events, you’ve probably seen Growl in action. A few months ago, Growl went from a free application to a paid app, and suddenly a great number of people who never even knew it was on their machines became very aware of it. Having to pay for the new version will do that to folks.

For the most part, the switch to a paid app was accepted well by the general public. While it’s worth every penny of the US$1.99 they charge for it, that is because there isn’t another app that works as well, as seamlessly, and as integrated to the OS itself. Now, with Mountain Lion getting Notification Center, the folks behind Growl have a real fight on their hands.

To kick off the battle, Growl has posted a blog article showing all the ways that we’ll still need – or at least really want – Growl on the OS X platform.

The argument is pretty straightforward. The Notification Center platform will only cover apps bought from the Mac App Store, and will not have all the functionality of Growl itself.

That’s great, but there’s an issue that may still cause problems for Growl. More and more new Mac Users only know about the App Store for getting new software for their Mac. They rarely use non-App-Store-purchased packages, and therefore don’t need a 3rd-Party alert tool.

I think that Growl will continue to be a great application. For Mac users who get software from multiple sources, it’s still a vital app to have; and even if you only use the Mac App Store to buy software, there will be many apps that continue to stand by Growl.

With luck, Growl will indeed integrate into Notification Center, but continue to supply alerting and tracking to all apps on Macs.

Photo Credit: Ernst Vikne

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