A while back, we covered a little tip for viewing song alerts in the iTunes Dock icon. As useful as that tip is, with Mountain Lion’s Notification Center, alerts are handled differently. iTunes has been left out of though; with the release of Mountain Lion, there was no update for the iTunes app that would allow it to send alerts to Notification Center. iTunification is an app we covered that made up for this, but there were two problems with it. The notifications did not show up under iTunes in the Notification Center panel, and you also had an unnecessary icon in the Menu Bar. Working around both these problems is Now Playing, a free Mac app that does everything iTunification does, but without the Menu Bar icon. The alert you see when a song changes and the app’s notification in the side panel are also better, carrying no name of the app itself.
The app has no interface to speak of; once downloaded, you will only have to move it to the Applications folder and then launch it. Now Playing will run in the background. Whenever a song is played, you will receive a notification that will appear to be sent by Notification Center.
Compared to iTunification, or even Hiss, which is a similar app that re-routes Growl alerts to Notification Center, the icon displayed in this alert is that of iTunes. If you open the Notification Center panel on the right, you will see that the current song is listed under Now Playing on iTunes. The work around to the app name problem that appears when a third party app reroutes alerts to Notification Center has been fixed here, because the app uses a Terminal command at the back end that generates these notifications and tells .
If you want to stop the app, you will have to open Activity Monitor, find Now Playing in the processes and quit it. This is one of the flaws that the app comes with, since there is no interface. You can’t set it to start at login, but will need to add it to the start up items in System Preferences > Users & Groups.
The app, although small in functionality, shows a lot of potential. It can easily be developed further to support more apps and perhaps even to include a simple UI that allows an average user to easily add apps and commands.