Google is experimenting with a new Chrome browser feature that could revolutionise how users interact with content online. According to The Verge, the latest beta version of Chrome, 111, tests a Document Picture-in-Picture mode that will allow users to display any web content in a floating window that stays on top of all other windows. This feature could have far-reaching implications for how users interact with websites and apps, making it much easier to multitask and stay engaged with multiple pieces of content simultaneously.
One of the most obvious uses for the Document Picture-in-Picture mode is for video players, which would be able to display their content in a floating window with custom UI elements, such as buttons to like or dislike a video, a timeline, or captions. The mini-player for video conferences is another example of how the feature could be used, as it would allow users to see a grid of all participants and access controls to mute themselves or raise their hands.
However, the possibilities for this feature go far beyond just video players. For example, there are already websites that use the Document Picture-in-Picture mode to display pomodoro timers, and it’s easy to imagine other types of applets that could take advantage of this technology, such as a picture-in-picture notepad or task list. Google has even suggested that the feature could be used to display playlists for music or other forms of entertainment.
While the Document Picture-in-Picture mode is currently only available in Chrome, other browser makers may be interested in incorporating this technology into their products. However, this is not guaranteed, as there are already concerns from the Mozilla team about the feature being used for annoying pop-ups, and Apple has yet to indicate whether it would be possible to bring the quality to iOS.
The trial of the Document Picture-in-Picture mode in Chrome 111 will continue until Chrome 115, which is expected to be released in June. After that, developers will consider feedback on the feature and decide how to move forward. For those eager to try out the part, it can be enabled by pasting chrome://flags/#document-picture-in-picture-api into the URL bar and choosing “enabled” from the drop-down menu.
In conclusion, the Document Picture-in-Picture mode could be a game-changer for how users interact with web content. It has the potential to make multitasking easier, enhance the video conference experience, and allow for new types of applets and websites to be developed. Whether this technology will be adopted by other browser makers remains to be seen, but it’s clear that this is an exciting new development that has the potential to transform the way we use the internet.