While Chrome has let users mute audio in individual tabs for some time, Google is currently testing a new media control feature in the browser’s latest Canary build. When enabled, users can play, pause, and skip/rewind audio and video content directly from the browser’s toolbar - incredibly convenient for silencing (or starting) Spotify while you work, for example, even if you’re not looking at the Spotify tab.
Google teased this feature for some Chrome users in a previous stable version of the browser, but it disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared. Hopefully Google is finally bringing the feature back - this time for good.
How to turn on Global Media Controls in Chrome Canary
In contrast, Chrome’s new controls are universal. They work the same for all supported media, and they let you pause and play media that’s blasting from a number of sites and services.
Here’s how to try out Chrome’s new media controls.
Download the latest Chrome Canary build from Google
Type “chrome://flags/” into your URL bar and hit Enter to open the flags menu
In the search bar, search for the flag “Global Media Controls”
Set the option’s drop-down menu to “Enable.”
Relaunch Chrome Canary to apply the changes
After relaunching, the media controls will appear next to Chrome’s URL bar.
All the normal warnings regarding unfinished, beta features and software apply here: Chrome will probably crash and the playback controls may not work for every service or web app you use, but it’s still a super-helpful feature.
We’re curious to see what form it takes in the final, public version.