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Improvements to Chromebook Media Controls Will Be Ubiquitous

Chromebook media controls test DG AH 2020
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Chromebook media controls won’t just be improving for the video player, it turns out. Not if there’s any weight to a new UI spotted under testing and reported by Redditors.

In fact, the media controls found on a Chromebook or in Chrome, in general, could soon look much more similar to those on Android.

What changes are being made to Chrome & Chromebook media controls?

Now, there are actually two noteworthy shifts in the Android direction to cover here. First and foremost, Google is finally apparently going to add a scrubbing bar. For clarity, that’s the partially colored bar typically used as a slider for navigating to various parts of the media that’s being played.

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But Google will also be bringing back a feature that was previously in place for media controls on Chromebook and Chrome platforms too. Namely, the color-coding of elements on the controls. Such as the play and navigation buttons.

Prior to a recent update, Google displayed those and the player background in a color theme matching the content. For instance, it might show in black color for an album that features black album art. But it would play with a different color if the album art warrants that too. With text and icons changing to remain visible based on that background color.

When will these changes arrive?

None of these changes has appeared in the everyday user-ready Stable Channel just yet. Instead, it’s tucked behind a flag setting at chrome://flags on beta channels of Chrome OS 91. It’s also found on other desktop platforms on the same version. Specifically behind a “#global-media-controls-modern-ui” flag.

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So the earliest it could arrive is late in May — May 25, to be exact. And, for Chromebooks, that’s a bit later on June 1. Tue, May 25, 2021. If Google pushes back development further still, it could arrive with Chrome 92 in mid-to-late July, depending on the platform.

Chromebook media controls 01 April leak from Android Central
Chromebook media controls 02 April leak from Android Central
Chromebook media controls 01 April leak from Android Central
Chromebook media controls 02 April leak from Android Central