Web

Chrome browser to add audio and video controls to address bar

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Google’s Chrome browser will soon be getting a nifty feature: media controls which let you interact with currently playing videos from the address bar.

You can preview the feature in the Chrome nightly developer build, Canary version 77, where Google rolls out new experimental features. It is the most unstable of the four Chrome builds available (Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary) and the place to get a glimpse of upcoming Chrome updates.

The feature adds a play icon next to the address bar, and clicking the icon brings up a menu which lets you control any video currently playing. The handy part is that you can control a video from any tab. If you are the sort of person who has hundreds of tabs open, the button will let you quickly interact with currently playing videos without having to hunt for the specific tab the video is located in.

The media controls work with videos sites like YouTube and Vimeo, and also audio sites like Spotify and Apple podcasts. They may also support more sites by the time the feature rolls out to the main browser.

chrome video controls chromeplay
Chrome Canary’s new address bar play button

If you want to try it out for yourself, first you need to download Chrome’s nightly developer build. Get it from the Canary website. Then open up Canary and type Chrome://flags into the address bar. Now locate the setting for Global Media Controls, which you can find using the search bar at the top of the page. Choose Enabled from the drop-down menu, and restart the browser.

Now, when you visit a site like YouTube and play a video, you’ll see a play icon in the address bar. If you click this icon, a popup menu will show you information about the currently playing video and give you options to pause, skip forward, and go back.

Watch out though, as Canary is very much a bleeding edge product and is not ready for widespread use. In our testing, Canary crashed several times while interacting with the play button panel. Still, it offers a glimpse of a neat feature that should be coming to the main Chrome browser soon.

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