Growl for Mac sends you notifications about the tasks running in the background, shows you previews of incoming emails in real time, and can even tell you when one of your chat buddies comes online. It basically enables you to keep track of what's going on in the background while working in another app.
Notifications for system events: With Growl for Mac you can choose what apps to receive notifications for through downloadable and configurable plug-ins. Because it integrates with most popular Mac apps, you can receive all kinds of useful notifications, for new emails, new social messages, or the completion of a scheduled process or task.
Wide range of supported apps: It supports many common programs that as a regular Mac user you are likely to use, including Adium, Yahoo Messenger, Twitter, Monitor for Facebook, as well as a wide range of utilities, games, music, and entertainment apps.
Email previews: The snippets of new emails it shows you can help you decide whether the email is worth your attention or not.
Doesn't work with certain native Mac apps: In our tests, Growl didn't seem to work with Safari or iTunes.
Not for light users: If you use only one application at a time and don't run many programs in the background, you don't really need it.
No free download: The lack of a Lite version or at least of a trial version strikes us as odd. If you want to use this app, you have to buy it.
If you have a lot of running programs to monitor, Growl for Mac can make your life a little easier, saving you the trouble of having to switch between apps all the time. Because there's no trial version available, however, do check the developer's website to make sure it supports your favorite apps, or else you may be wasting your money on it.
From The Growl Project:
Growl is a global notifications system for OS X. (for example) Growl allows apps that support Growl to send you notifications. 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. When you start up a Growl-enabled application, it will "just work." Your apps can start displaying notifications right away. 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. Growl is very flexible. Notifications can be emailed to you or spoken instead of displayed on the screen.
Charging for what had been a free package that is required by other software such as Skype. Will cause a mass exodus. If they wanted to milk their customer base, should have been more transparent about what was coming. Why isnt the $3 new charge listed as a change? Thats by far the most significant change in this new release.
I've been using Growl for many years and find it to be an excellent product for notifying me about events without my having to actually have the window open. For instance, Skype contacts that come online.
I see nothing in the solicitation for upgrading to version 1.3.1. Why would I want to go to the Apple Store and pay for something that I already have for free. It's not that I don't mind paying... it's just that no one has bothered to give me a reason (other than a blind solicitation).
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. I have been reduced to one "space" since SL came out, but now that Growl is updated, I can safely confine Adium and other chatty apps to other spaces.
Growl is an effective tool for showing heads up displays for many apps that may update (or may not) their dock icons. For a dock hider like myself, and multiple space user, this utility is INVALUABLE.
Try in conjunction with GrowlMail and hardware growler. For sysadmins, use growlnotify and use the "listen" feature in the pref pane to monitor your flock of sheep, whether it be workstations or servers.
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. I love Growl and use it to keep track of what applications I have running in other Spaces are doing or receive notifications of system events.
One thing I have noticed with this version and Apple's Mail in Leopard is that it seems to interfere with user interaction with the program. For example, when Mail is downloading messages and the Growl notifications are being displayed, I cannot select/view a message in mail, change to another folder, or access any of Mail's menus. I never had that problem with any previous version.