Chrome 53 introduced Material Design to Windows and a new Material Overview mode to Chrome OS. With its rollout near complete, version 54 is now in the beta channel with a number of user and developer features specifically for Android.

There are a number of changes to how media is handled in Chrome for Android. The biggest allows video to continue playing in the background, including when you exit to the homescreen, switch tabs, and when the screen is off.

Specifically, Chrome 54 does not immediately close a media notification when a video is no longer in the foreground. A playing video still pauses when your exit the app, but users can now press play on the media notification to resume a video’s audio. A TED Talk is used as an example, but YouTube also works.

Developers can now trigger full screen mode after a device changes orientation. This allows for rotate-to-fullscreen in media players. With Chrome defaulting to HTML5 by year’s end, embedded YouTube Flash players will be rewritten by desktop Chrome to use the HTML5 embed style, thus improving performance and security.

Other features include support for developers to create custom elements and components with support for the new V1 spec and a new BroadcastChannel API allows sites to better communicate with their own custom tabs. Chrome for Android is also getting a slightly redesigned New Tab page that will list Google Now suggested articles.

These features apply to the latest Chrome Beta on all platforms. They should be available in the stable channel in approximately six weeks.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com