Google is shaking up the way you play music and videos in Chrome

Google Chrome
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Google is changing the way videos and music play in Chrome, letting you control playback without switching between tabs.

A new floating control panel will allow you to play, pause, stop and skip media, without the need to drop whatever you're working on.

The feature was first spotted by Chrome Story back in June, but now XDA Developers has succeeded in enabling it via a flag (a control used to enable experimental features before they're ready for release). Curious? Find out what Chrome flags are and how to use them.

Not all tools that appear as flags are actually rolled out (for example, Google appears to have scrapped its experimental option to force dark mode on websites that don't officially support it) but it's still a good sign that it will soon be rolling out.

Play on...

We've seen Google experiment with adding media controls to Chrome before, and last year it added a play button to your browser's toolbar that allows you to stop and restart music and videos without having to look for the appropriate controls on the webpage.

The difference here is that the controls will follow you between tabs, so you can fiddle with your music while working on a Google Sheet, for example. With working from home becoming part of the 'new normal' and no colleagues in the room to complain about the office playlist, we can see it being a very popular feature.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)