Firefox's Picture-in-Picture mode to support site-specific wrappers for improved functionality
Mozilla laid the foundation for site-specific video wrapper scripts in this week's release of Firefox Nightly, the cutting-edge development version of the Firefox browser.
These video wrapper scripts improve the browser's Picture-in-Picture mode by adding support for site-specific controls and features, such as subtitles or captions.
Picture-in-Picture modes are supported by many modern web browsers. The mode allows users to move media playback to a standalone overlay interface that is displayed on top of the browser. Users get basic controls, e.g., to play and pause videos, and may use the browser to navigate to other tabs or pages without losing media playback focus.
Work on site-specific video player adapters started about a year ago when bug 1670108 was opened on Mozilla's bug tracking site. Main reasons for wanting to implement scripts for specific services was compatibility, as global features would sometimes cause unwanted breakage. Mike Conley, the original poster on the bug tracking site, gave an example where a simple function that would change the current time of the video would result in playback stopping on Netflix.
The introduction of site-specific solutions for Firefox's Picture-in-Picture mode brings advanced controls to the mode and reduces the chance of breakage.
Mozilla mentions four video streaming services in its announcement. According to the organization, users can expect scripts for Netflix, YouTube and Amazon, and other services that have not been mentioned in the announcement.
The latest version of Firefox Nightly includes the infrastructure that powers these site-specific video wrapper scripts. Mozilla implemented a proof-of-concept script for YouTube that syncs the mute button of the Picture-in-Picture window with the mute state of the video player on YouTube.
Mozilla will keep the functionality restricted to Firefox Nightly for now to address potential bugs and issues that are reported to the organization. The feature will then be uplifted to Firefox Stable eventually.
Firefox's Picture-in-Picture mode will get a functionality boost out of this, especially if site-specific features such as subtitles or captions are supported by the wrapper scripts. Firefox users who use the browser's Picture-in-Picture mode will likely find the improved functionality useful, provided that sites that they use the feature on are supported by it.
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