The next version of Google Chrome is going to make controlling music and video a lot more intuitive.
Currently in beta, Chrome 73 will introduce support for media buttons that sit on laptops and all but the most budget of keyboards. Typically these work with Windows apps to allow you to play and pause music, but do little to control how plenty of people actually consume media: in the web browser.
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That all changes with Chrome 73. Initial support will see the ‘play’, ‘pause’, ‘previous track’, ‘next track’, ‘seek forward’ and ‘seek backward’ keys supported.
Better still, the controls work for all of Chrome, and not just the tab you have open. That means if you have a YouTube music playlist open in a tab, you can control it straight from the keyboard without having to play a frustrating game of ‘hunt the tab’ first. They’ll even work if Chrome is minimised.
At first, keyboard media control for Chrome will only be supported in Windows, Chrome OS and macOS, but Linux support will follow at some unspecified point. The feature is live for YouTube in the Chrome 73 beta, or you can demo how it functions on Chrome’s Github page.
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Chrome is the first browser to offer support for multimedia keys, but don’t expect Google to be the last company to implement it. Apple has shown an interest in incorporating the Media Session API in WebKit, the engine behind Safari too.
If popular, it certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft and Mozilla followed suit in Edge and Firefox respectively.
Do you listen to music through the browser, or will media keys not be much help to you? Let us know what you think of Chrome’s new feature on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.