Instead of a beep or a bonk or a bouncing icon in the Dock, Growl gives you honest to goodness notices when something happens with apps on your Mac. You can continue to work while Growl pops up notices somewhere on your screen that’s noticeable but not distracting.
Growling Notifications For Fun And Profit
Growl is the single most useful Mac notification app that used to be free but now is merely very inexpensive but still a bargain at twice the price.
There’s not much to set up to use Growl. It mostly just works.
Apps on your Mac will send notifications for this or that and Growl displays them on your Mac’s screen.
It’s a centralized notification and alert system controlled from one app that doesn’t require much control. The most control you’ll exercise is selecting the type of notification you want and where.
What’s not to like about that? Growl’s basic options are On or Off, and how long you want the notifications to be onscreen before not being on screen.
A growing bunch of Mac apps work perfectly in Growl, right out of the box (so to speak– there’s not really a box; it’s a Mac App Store download).
Each app in the Growl list can be customized, though.
You can select a different notification style per app. Even select what the notification message will be (varies by app, too).
I counted 20 different notification styles which can be used, and each of those can be customized to match your tastes in alerts, which gives you more than 20 different kinds of notifications; so many I decided to stop counting.
The duration on an alert can be changed, as can the opacity and color of the notification box. Notifications even work on multiple screens, and if those 20 styles are not enough, others can be downloaded.
A couple of things happened on the way to Growl becoming a household name for Mac app notifications.
Once it was free. Now it’s gone all commercial on the Mac App Store (it’s a measly $1.99, so order something cheaper from Starbucks next time, and it’s paid for).
An older version of Growl (for Snow Leopard, not Lion) is still available for free. But there’s no try-before-you-buy option.
It’s still not a bad thing, because my threshold for trying without a try-before-you-buy option is $1.99, which, coincidentally (and I didn’t influence them at all) is the price tag on Growl.
This is the kind of app that Apple didn’t build in to Lion but should have. Shame on Apple. They’re so distracted by all the big money selling a hundred million iPhones a year that the Mac just isn’t getting much love, and the love it gets is to make the Mac look more like an iPhone or iPad, and that’s not really love at all.