Google adds a play button to Chrome

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Google is preparing to introduce a new feature to Chrome in the form of a general purpose play/pause button located on the web browser’s toolbar.

With so much of our entertainment and services now accessed through a web browser, we’re all used to having several browser tabs open at any one time. Now Google wants to make controlling video and audio playback a much easier task regardless of which tab it’s playing in by introducing an always-available button.

As ZDNet reports, the Chrome Canary “bleeding edge” version of the Chrome browser has introduced this new play/pause button to the interface positioned to the right of the URL bar, with its official name being the Global Media Controls (GMC). The button expands to show stop and resume options for any available media.

By introducing this button, Google solves the problem of having to identify which tab is currently playing media when you want to quickly stop it playing, and vice-versa. This is especially useful since Google changed the “mute a tab” feature from pressing the speaker icon to having to right-click the tab to access the option. The GMC makes this a one click/tap process again.

For now, the GMC remains an experimental (and apparently buggy) feature, but it’s expected to make the transition to desktop versions of Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux eventually. It’s highly likely Chrome OS will get the button, too, we just don’t know when yet.

If you use the Chrome Canary builds of the browser, the GMC can be accessed by enabling the chrome://flags/#global-media-controls flag.

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