This is my first Q to Meta, I reviewed anything similar before posting, but with no success.

I'm pretty new user to SE and like it much, so I have it as pinned tab in my Firefox. Among these I have my webmail opened, which has pretty nice feature: except realtime update, which is usual nowadays, it has a very noticeable red square with # of newly arrived messages on favicon, which immediately changes to regular one as soon as I switch to the tab (the leftmost one below):

favicon notification sample

As a result, I need to switch to e-mail tab only when new message arrives. And I'm desperately missing this feature for SE... :( Frankly, that's the only thing about the whole SE network I REALLY upset: perhaps being QA & usability specialist for about 5 years so far has its cons in notifying such things.

Perhaps many users will find this annoying, but for me it would be extremely helpful: check the page not every 5 mins, but only when something happened. As for the desired icon and events to show - this is the subject for discussion.

  • Here is an account for the described webmail testing:
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 13:23
  • mail.yandex.ru / UN seicontest / PW 123qweASD / e-mail: [email protected] - please use it freely, for anyone who may contribute to the solution. So far I noticed from Firebug they use JS or whatever script to replace favicon which has red-squared numbers (as shown on my screen).
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


Here is a greasemonkey script for this, but with all the interface changes it isn't quite perfect. We always need more features that allow us to be more efficient with our time. Most big webapps affect the tab in some way, Stack Exchange puts the number of new questions in the tab, but I think notifications would be better or at least could be done simultaneously.

Here's a link to a GM script that will give you desktop notifications in Firefox or Chrome.

Other Links:

Here's one post that talks about the issues.

  • Does this mean "No way"?
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 19:03
  • 1
    No, but for reasons I can't understand they haven't been inclined to do this in the past. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 19:10
  • @PeterL., check out the link I just posted, I haven't tested it yet, but I"m anxious to see how it works. It's for desktop notifications, not tab icons, but it's one step closer. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 22:48
  • Just installed FF addon, from official FF addon site, so it may be trusted) no events so far to see how it works - will get back asap as anything happens) Thanks for the link!
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 23:28
  • I just got the notification of your comment. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 23:29
  • same for me, but it still on screen for about a second, and there's no way to customize(
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 23:30
  • Yep, tab notification would be much better. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 23:34
  • Better than nothing, so got my upvote. However, far from accept)
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 23:41
  • After several days of usage as QA specialist I see some issues as well as possible improvements. Which thread is better for submission?
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 11:20
  • @PeterL., this one. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:43
  • 1
    I rediscovered this script that Fosco had made for me to get tab notification, but it was designed a while back and may not function with enhancements done since then, I'm going to test it out. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:52
  • Feel free to share any working beta for testing. Will proceed with StackApps account and provide my suggestions there, thanks for the link!
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 14:30
  • @Peter, ok, it does work. It puts a number in the tab, which will go away when you go to a link out of the inbox or refresh the page (I usually hit the Questions button). It's a little irritating when you have multiple tabs open because it shows in all of them, but won't go away unless you go into the other one and reset it. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 17:38
  • please advice how to install it to FF - I have no similar experience so far.
    – Peter L.
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 17:41
  • 1
    @PeterL., I came back to 5 messages, and all the numbers were in tab like so: 5 4 3 2 1, so it could use some work. I'm going to look at the code more if I get a chance. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 19:38

This could be done quite easily using the Tinycon JS library.


A small library for manipulating the favicon, in particular adding alert bubbles and changing images. Tinycon gracefully falls back to a number in title approach for browers that don't support canvas or dynamic favicons.


  • Thanks for the suggestion! Could you probably provide a working solution, or at least any direction how to do that? I'm not a developer, I'm QA...
    – Peter L.
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 15:16
  • This would need to be implemented by the Stack Exchange developers :) Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 15:27
  • Oh I see, I thought that should be done on client side) Thanks for the idea, my +1!
    – Peter L.
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 15:29

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