Chrome 79: global media controls rolling out

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 20, 2019
Google Chrome

Google is in the process of rolling out a new global media control feature in the company's Chrome web browser for desktop operating systems. The company launched the feature initially for its ChromeOS operating system to provide users with better media management capabilities.

Depending on how you use Chrome, it may sometimes be difficult to control media playback. Say you like to play media in the background while you do other things in the browser. If you need to change playback parameters quickly, e.g. pause playback or skip to the next video or track, you need to activate the tab the media plays in to get access to the controls provided by the page.

Tip: check out our complete Chrome muting guide

Chrome 79: global media controls

chrome control media playback

When you play media in Chrome 79 or later, Chrome displays a new icon in the browser's main toolbar. The icon is only displayed on media playback and hidden otherwise. Note that Google is rolling out the change currently and that it may not be visible right now on individual browser instances.

chrome media controls

A flag is available that turns the feature on or off. You control it in the following way:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#global-media-controls in the web browser's address bar.
  2. Set the flag to Enabled to turn it on or Disabled to turn it off. Default sets it to whatever Google has selected for the browser.
  3. Restart Google Chrome.

A click on the icon in the Chrome address bar displays playback controls and information about the media. You get options to play/pause the media, use back and forward operations, or use skip functionality.

Multiple media items may be displayed at the same time in the interface if you started playback of multiple items. I ran a quick test on YouTube and Soundcloud, and Chrome displays options to control playback for both in the new UI.

control playback

For each media, Chrome displays the site and title at all times. For some, YouTube at the very least, it displays imagery next to that as you can see on the screenshot above.

Closing Words

I like the idea of using global controls for media in the web browser. It offers a quick way to pause playback or skip without having to switch tabs to do so necessarily.

Now You: What is your take on this?

Chrome 79: global media controls rolling out
Article Name
Chrome 79: global media controls rolling out
Google is in the process of rolling out a new global media control feature in the company's Chrome web browser for desktop operating systems.
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  1. inputter said on December 20, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Desperately need a volume slider and mute control on it, same goes for Google’s Picture-in picture extension too. This just replaces a tab click with a toolbar icon click! It does the exact same job as clicking on a tab! What is the point of it?

  2. Ray said on December 20, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I already use global media controls on Chrome with hotkeys via the StreamKeys extension. That’s way more convenient.

    1. Camp said on December 20, 2019 at 6:43 pm

      Me too. What is the difference between StreamKeys and this new feature?

      Can I use my keyboard with this feature?

  3. chesscanoe said on December 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Chrome “chrome://flags/#global-media-controls” shows both Global Media Controls and Secure DNS Lookup are enabled by default when running Chrome Version 80.0.3987.16 (Official Build) beta (64-bit). GMC works in youtube if you are not running full screen, as expected. I forget how to see if SDNSL works using Quad9.

  4. notanon said on December 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

    DNS-Over-HTTPS was announced for Chrome 78.

    We’re on Chrome 79, and there’s still no general roll-out of DNS-Over-HTTPS.

    I could care less about global media controls, maybe focus on getting DNS-Over-HTTPS released for everyone instead.

    1. Ernesto Che said on December 24, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      @notanon: Dissenter, a blazing fast Chromium-based browser has the DNS over HTTPS feature as an adjustable setting. Dissenter is very secure with a lot more adjustable settings, it’s based on Brave but without some of Brave’s crap like BAT. Worth checking out.

    2. asd said on December 20, 2019 at 10:51 am

      Stop handing out your data to Google and use Firefox, it already has DNS-Over-HTTPS

      1. notanon said on December 21, 2019 at 6:09 am

        @asd, you’re probably new here.

        Go back & read the comments on all the Firefox articles.

        I post alot of support for Firefox. It’s my primary browser.

        Chrome is my backup browser for the few broken sites that don’t work properly in Firefox.

        When Manifest v. 3 is enforced on Chrome, I’m deleting Chrome from my computer forever.

        But thanks for the reply.

      2. Iron Heart said on December 20, 2019 at 6:16 pm


        Your probably use Google Search and YouTube. Likely also Google Mail and Android on your Smartphone. Not handing out your data to Google at all? Don’t believe so.

        Also, some Chromium forks like Ungoogled Chromium andBrave are more privacy-respacting than Firefox (default settings).

      3. Tom said on December 21, 2019 at 3:25 pm

        The same in every ghacks article about Firefox or when someone mentions Firefox: “Yuliya” with a totally unrelated comment about how bad Mozilla is. There is nothing bad about figuring out how many people have telemetry disabled but she tries to make this and all what Mozilla does to something bad. Fortunately most people are not stupid. It’s obvious for most people that it’s only childish bashing. Either she is a paid by the vendor of another browser or she needs a life.

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