Having keyboard control of your music and videos can be a real timesaver when you need to hear what someone is saying to you or a tune starts blaring out from your computer unexpectedly, and the next version of Chrome is ready to help.
From next month, the full release of Chrome 73 will support those multimedia keys you’ve got fixed on your keyboard, whether you’re using Windows, macOS or Chrome OS. Linux support is coming at a later date.
The feature will work whether or not the relevant tab is in the foreground too, so you’ll be able to stop YouTube or the web version of Spotify even if they’re buried in one of those background tabs you’ve forgotten about.
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Google has very kindly put out a demo page where you can see the new features in action and make sure this is going to work with the keys you have set up on your keyboard. You’ll be able to skip forwards and backwards through playlists too.
More tweaks coming to Chrome OS
Yet more tweaks are coming to Chrome OS too, this time in version 72, which is rolling out as we speak – no need to wait around and refresh your browser in this case.
There’s better native integration for Google Assistant and Android 9 Pie, which basically means the Assistant will be more easily accessible from a broader range of Chromebooks than it was in Chrome 71.
The Google Assistant will be available via a pill-shaped bar at the bottom of the screen, ready for your web queries or your questions about the day’s weather (you’ll also be able to say “hey Google” to access the same features).
Other updates add extra security to Chrome OS and introduce a picture-in-picture mode for videos that’s turned on by default. If you don’t have Chrome OS 72 on your Chromebook already, you should do soon.