Google Cloud Messaging

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Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) is a service that enables developers to send data from servers to both Android applications or Chrome apps and extensions.


The service provides a simple, lightweight mechanism that servers can use to tell mobile applications to contact the server directly, to fetch updated application or user data. The service handles all aspects of queueing of messages and delivery to the target application running on the target device.

The free service has the ability to send a lightweight message informing the Android application of new data to be fetched from the server. Larger messages can be sent with up to 4 KB of payload data.[1] Each notification message size is limited to 1024 bytes, and Google limits the number of messages a sender sends in aggregate, and the number of messages a sender sends to a specific device.

Applications on an Android device don’t need to be running to receive messages. The system will wake up the application via a mechanism called Intent Broadcast when the message arrives, as long as the application is set up with the proper broadcast receiver and permissions. GCM does not provide any built-in user interface or other handling for message data. Instead, it simply passes raw message data received straight to the application, which has full control of how to handle it. For example, the application might post a notification, display a custom user interface, or silently sync data.


GCM first launched as Google's Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) service, first featured in Android 2.2 by Google.[2][3][4]

The transition to Google Cloud Messaging was first announced when the Android service was unveiled on June 27, 2012, at Google I/O.[5] The Chrome service was announced before Google I/O 2013 in a blog post titled 'Building efficient apps and extensions with push messaging.'[6]

At [I/O] 2015, Google announced a new SDK and iOS support.

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