Streamkeys is a popular chrome extension which lets you control media playback from any tab. Turns out, in the latest Google Chrome 77 build, you can do it natively using a special chrome flag. For the unknown, Chrome flags lets you access secret features in Chrome before they are made available for the public. Let’s see how it works.
Before we get started, make sure your Chrome is updated as this feature was introduced recently. To do so, click the three-bar Menu icon and browse to Help > About Google Chrome to check for browser updates. I’ve tested it on Chrome Version 77.0.3865.75.
To control youtube playback while on another tab, open up your Google Chrome browser on computer and in the URL bar, copy-paste the following URL.
You’ll be taken to the Chrome flags page with a warning – these flags can cause security issues and potential data loss. Don’t worry, they are mostly harmless and you can always revert back to previous settings.
Since it’s hard to scroll through all the possible chrome flags, I’ll suggest you use the search bar at the top of the screen to look for ‘Global Media Controls‘. Enable the flag that matches, by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to it, and select Enable. Alternatively, you can use the following URL for quick access.
Once you’ve enabled the Chrome flag, click the Relaunch Now button at the bottom of the screen. This will restart the Chrome browser and you are now ready to use the chrome flag you just turned on.
Once the browser restarts, open any YouTube video of your choice. In the right side of the Omni-box, next to the extension area, you will see a small ‘Play’ button. Clicking the play button will bring a small window which will give you the title of whatever is playing, along with the option to play/pause and move to the next or previous item in a list.
The best part is, it supports pretty much any sites that have media on the web page. I tried it on free music streaming sites, YouTube, Pandora, Ganna, Soundcloud, and few others. And it worked with all of them. But only in the case of YouTube, the window showed the thumbnail for the video that’s playing. Overall, while this is a cool feature to have, Google may change or remove these flags at any time in the future. Let me know your thoughts in the comment below.