Google is adding a new function to play, pause, or skip through videos or music via the toolbar to its Chrome browser, though it is currently only available via the Canary development browser and remains quite buggy, per the Verge.
Word of the update originally came via ZDNet and Techdows. The nifty new feature is a button with a drop-down menu that allows users to press pause or play on a video or audio track without having to navigate between windows or tabs—a helpful feature for anyone who listens to music using a browser or wants to silence auto-playing videos that pop up on random websites without having to do so manually.
To activate the feature on Canary, navigate to the chrome://flags/ page and find and click “Global Media Controls.” After restarting Canary, the button will appear in the browser like so:
As ZDnet noted, the feature is not currently working correctly and results in a crash virtually every time a user tries to pause a video, including on YouTube. (In fact, when Gizmodo tried the feature, it often crashed the entire browser seconds after just displaying the drop-down menu.) It currently works with sites including Vimeo, Apple’s podcasts, and Spotify, the Verge wrote. However, it currently only appears to recognize one video at a time, significantly limiting its usefulness.
Per ZDnet, it’s unclear when the feature may be introduced (though progress can be watched on the Chromium bug tracker), though it is likely to become popular because Google removed other muting functions last year:
The reason is because in the fall of 2018, Google removed the ability to mute a tab by pressing the “speaker” icon that appeared on tabs that played audio or video. Users could still mute tabs by right-clicking a tab, but clicking on the “speaker” icon doesn’t work anymore.
For the past few months, users have been requesting that Google re-enable this option as a quick way to pause audio from tabs with auto-playing sound.
Feel free to give it a spin via the Canary download page, but don’t expect much until the bugs are ironed out.