When you have multiple tabs or windows open on your Chrome browser, it can be quite discomfiting to notice that video/audio is streaming on one of the web pages but you can’t track it down as fast as you’d like to.
Here is the good news: With the new and convenient Play/Pause button in Google Chrome, you can quickly control media playback in your browser without having to track down the source manually.
The feature was introduced in the stable version of Chrome 77. However, it is hidden behind an experimental flag, just like Chrome’s new Extension menu, ‘Send Tab to Self’, and Reader Mode. Therefore, to use it, you’ll have to enable the feature by following the easy steps provided in this guide.
Since Chrome’s media playback control is still experimental, Google might change how it works or decide to remove it entirely in the future. However, users expect that the latter won’t happen. Google might have the Play/Pause button enabled by default when a new version of Chrome is released. Frankly, that sounds like a good idea.
How to Enable the Play Button on Chrome’s Toolbar
To add the Play/Pause button to your browser’s toolbar, here’s what you have to do:
- Launch Google Chrome.
- Type or copy and paste “chrome://flags/” into the address bar and press Enter to open the ‘Experiments’ page.
- Type “Global Media” in the search box located at the top of the page. The ‘Global Media Controls’ option will be displayed in the search results.
Note: You can bring up the Global Media Controls option faster by typing (or copying and pasting) “chrome://flags/#global-media-controls” into the Chrome Omnibox (i.e. address bar) and then pressing Enter.
- Click the blue drop-down arrow on the right-hand side of the option and change it from ‘Default’ to ‘Enabled.’
- You’ll get a notification that says, “Your changes will take effect the next time you relaunch Google Chrome.” Click the ‘Relaunch’ button to restart Chrome and activate media controls. However, if you currently have other open tabs that you wouldn’t like to close at the moment, simply close the Experiment tab and continue with your work. The feature will be activated when you relaunch your browser.
How to Use the Play Button in Google Chrome
Once you’ve completed the steps presented above, the media control box will appear on your screen whenever a video or an audio track starts playing on your browser. It shows you the title of the media and the URL it is streaming from. Apart from the Play/Pause button, the media control box also has the Next and Previous buttons, which allow you to move to another available track.
If video/audio is playing in other tabs or windows, you’ll be presented with the controls for each one. Thus, the Play/Pause button comes up on your screen even if you have several active windows and tabs and regardless of whether or not you are on the tab or window that the media is playing in.
It would seem that the feature works best with YouTube. The reason for suggesting this is because although you can play/pause media streaming from any website (including Facebook, Spotify, and Netflix), the ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ buttons have been reported to be active only for YouTube media. Users have also reported that the title and thumbnail of the track that’s playing only appear for YouTube.
However, the fact remains that you can use the feature to quickly play or pause video/audio on your Google Chrome browser and discover the URL that’s streaming it. It also removes the need to download a third-party extension for performing the aforementioned actions.
However, if you decide to deactivate Chrome 77’s built-in media control feature and opt for a third-party extension instead, simply follow the steps outlined above. Select ‘Disabled’ when you get to Step 4.
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We hope that this guide on how to enable the Play/Pause button in Google Chrome has been useful to you.
If you have any remarks, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to hear from you.