On desktop web, most instances of Picture-in-Picture (PiP) are quite basic. Google Chrome is now working on adding support for more advanced Picture-in-Picture players and use cases.

Most PiP windows today let you play/pause, go “Back to tab,” or close it. Chrome does support the addition of “Previous Track” and “Next track” buttons, but that’s not widely implemented by sites.

The new Document Picture-in-Picture API “makes it possible to open an always-on-top window that can be populated with arbitrary HTML content.” Notable, this means custom buttons and video controls, like a timeline scrubber, like/dislike, and captions, if a website chooses.

In the case of video calling apps, Google notes how the API can more easily combine multiple streams into a single PiP, while possible buttons include “sending a message, muting another user, or raising a hand.”

Another novel example is using the more advanced PiP capabilities to create a pomodoro tool (as seen with Tomodoro above).

Developer support for advanced instances of Picture-in-Picture is currently in testing with Chrome 111 as an origin trial

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Abner Li

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