Playing video on an Android device is generally done through an application dedicated to that purpose. YouTube, Vimeo, and most other video services have their own applications so you don’t have to play things through the browser. Some videos, though, need to be played through a browser. Now, Chrome for Android is quietly adding a new feature that makes watching those videos feel a bit more native.
The best gifts for Android users
Hidden in chrome://flags on both Chrome Beta and Chrome Dev is a new option that enables videos to be automatically placed into full screen when your smartphone is rotated into landscape mode. Once enabled, the flag works as promised. Simply start playing a video on whatever website you want on Chrome and it will go into full screen once you’ve turned your phone to landscape.
Where might you use this feature? Really anything played on the web (including YouTube) is up for grabs with this. The biggest use case I see for the majority of users is videos on local news sites, the majority of which still keep their content self-hosted instead of using other services.
To make use of this feature you will, of course, need to enable auto-rotation, which makes sense. For now, the feature also needs to be manually enabled. Currently, this is only available in Chrome Beta/Dev, but should eventually make its way to the stable version. To enable it for now, simply copy and paste the following into your URL bar and toggle it to “enabled.”