Back in August, Chrome OS added media controls to its notification center, and they now show up on the lockscreen. A similar feature is now coming to Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux with playback now controllable from right next to the Omnibox through the “media hub.”
The issue Google wants to minimize is being unaware of what tab media is playing from. While the browser already shows a black volume icon in the tab strip, it’s quite small. Even then, you still have to navigate to the page and click around to pause.
This new Chrome media hub provides actual audio controls in a consistent location on the toolbar. It appears to the left of your profile icon and cannot be moved, while auto-hiding if there’s no site playing media.
Tapping the music note icon shows an Android-esque notification. The entire box is themed based on cover art, while the domain is noted in the top-left. This is followed by song title and artist. Buttons for play/pause and rewind/forward are underneath, with a close button also available.
Designed to minimize any disruptions to whatever you need to get done in your browser, the new media hub helps you to be more productive by bringing all your media notifications to one place and letting you manage each audio and video playback, without ever having to navigate any tabs.
According to Google, this is part of “features aiming to enhance your media experience in Chrome.” This includes media hardware key support and Picture-in-picture over the past year. The company hints at more functionality in 2020.
The Chrome media hub is rolling out with version 79 and available for the Windows, Mac, and Linux browser. You can enable it immediately by setting this flag:
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