Google is testing new features for global media controls in Chrome
Google rolled out new media playback controls for Google Chrome and Chrome OS in January last year. The feature added a new icon next to the address bar that opened a simple playback controls window with a pause/play button, the currently playing URL, and the song title. The window also showed the current song’s album art. Google is now rolling out an update for the media controls on the latest Chrome Canary build (v. 91) that adds a progress bar and dynamic backgrounds to the mix.
Reddit user u/Leopeva64-2 recently spotted (via Android Police) the updated media controls hidden behind a new Chrome flag. You can access the media controls by downloading the latest Chrome Canary release and heading over to the chrome://flags page. You’ll then have to search for global media controls, and you should spot the new #global-media-controls-modern-ui flag.
Once the flag is enabled, you should see the new media controls in Chrome whenever you play a song or a video. As you can see in the attached screenshot, Google has shuffled the position of each UI element in the updated controls. The playback buttons are at the top, followed by the new progress bar, album art, song title, and current URL. The window now also has a dynamic background that matches the album art. Chrome OS’s media playback controls have also received a similar update, as shown in the screenshot attached below.
The updated media playback controls are currently only available on the Canary channel. You’ll have to wait a few weeks before the update starts rolling out on the stable channel. Until then, you can download the latest Chrome Canary release by following this link and try the new controls on your device. Do note that the Canary build isn’t recommended for daily use as it’s the least stable under-development version of the browser.