Get multitasking: Chrome 54 for Android plays videos in the background

Lulu Chang
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Background videos are all the rage these days, and now they’re available in the beta of Chrome 54 for Android. That means that you’ll now be able to continue to play online videos in the background even as you keep composing that email or reading those class notes. Because if you’re so capable of multitasking, your phone should be too, right?

While older versions of Chrome required users to pause their videos when switching to a new app or going back to the home screen, version 54 gives users the option to continue playing these videos by way of a media notification. Audio will continue playing even as users run other apps or return to the home screen.

The new updates allows Android devices to detect pages that are running in the background. That means that even if you’re watching a video on YouTube (as opposed to a video in your phone’s library), you’ll still get the same notification that allows you to continue watching your content.

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On the Chromium blog, Google noted that a number of improvements had been made to the mobile browser’s media capabilities at large. “Media is an increasingly large and important part of the browsing experience on mobile devices that requires fluidly utilizing the entire screen,” Google noted in its announcement. In addition to background videos, “Developers can now use Element.requestFullScreen() to trigger full screen mode after a screen orientation change in addition to after a user gesture,” the blog said. “This allows experiences like rotate-to-fullscreen for media players.”

While it’s still unclear as to when these new features will be available at large to the public, you’re welcome to test out the beta from Google Play if you’re starting to feel adventurous. So if you need yet another distraction on your phone to keep you from doing other things on your phone, background videos on Chrome may be the way to start.