Last week, I briefly mentioned Growl, and how awesome I think it is.

Growl has been around for a while now, and if you haven’t heard of it, here it is in a nutshell: Growl is a notification system for OS X that lets supported apps give you pop up notifications. It can be very handy—the first time I ever heard about it was when I downloaded Adium back in 2004.

I still use Adium today, and the notifications are more useful now than they ever have been because I use a 30” display attached to my MacBook Pro in extended desktop mode (sigh… life is hard). Seriously though, it’s great to see a notification pop up on my main screen because I keep all my chat windows on the screen of the MacBook Pro.

Why use Growl? In their own words:

Control
Growl offers you complete control over which notifications are shown and how they are displayed. You will not receive any notifications that you do not want, because you can easily turn notifications (specific ones or all of them) off.

Consistency
Growl centralizes all your notification preferences into its preference pane – you can control them all from one place, and you know exactly how they are going to behave.

Powerful
Growl is very flexible. Notifications can be emailed to you or spoken instead of displayed on the screen.

Ease of use
When you start up a Growl-enabled application, it will “just work.” Your apps can start displaying notifications right away.

I can’t argue with any of those. Plus, Growl is pretty seamless. All you need to do is install it once, and it will show up in your System Preferences pane. From there on out, it will work with any other supported application you choose to install.

It is compatible with many popular apps, such as Adium, Skype, VLC, Transmit, NetNewsWire and more.

While it may seem like just one more thing you don’t need, I see it as a valuable plug-in for OS X that will just keep getting better. Plus, it has been rated 4 (and higher) out of 5 by Macworld, MacUpdate and VersionTracker. Try it!

Download Growl.

See the full list of supported applications.
View the notification styles archive.

Next week: Prowl, a companion to Growl for your iPhone.

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