If you have a decently fast Internet connection, some days you may spend more time watching videos than browsing the web, texting, or arguing with people on Facebook. Sites like YouTube have gone to great lengths to accommodate your video streaming habits, from paid subscriptions to Project Stream, and its latest wizardry is support for picture-in-picture video windows.
We reported a couple months back that Google was testing this feature in its Chrome browser (Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS), and the eagle-eyed newshounds at 9to5Google spotted an update from an engineer, posted to the Google+ social network (which, by the way, will be shutting down soon). In the post, "Chromium Evangelist" François Beaufort says that picture-in-picture is now enabled by default in Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
But you don't have to take his word for it and wait for web developers to start implementing it around the Internet. He says that you can just right-click twice any video on YouTube, and you'll get an option in the pop-up menu to open a picture-in-picture window.
For now, the window is fairly basic, with its controls limited to a play/pause button. However, you can drag the window outside of Chrome, and if you hover your mouse pointer on an edge or corner of the window, you can click-and-drag to resize it. However, there does appear to be a limitation on window size -- we couldn't get ours larger than 960x540 pixels.
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On YouTube, the feature is basically a proof-of-concept, currently. If you go to another page or website, the PiP window will stop streaming. In the meantime, you can still use YouTube's new miniplayer, though it has limitations of its own -- it can't be resized or dragged elsewhere, and loading a different website will make it disappear.
But the miniplayer will continue streaming as you browse YouTube, as long as you don't click on an actual video page, and it has more controls, like a seek slider and the ability to skip to the next clip.
Of course, if you're graced with multiple displays connected to your computer, then picture-in-picture probably isn't a must-have feature. But Beaufort says that the feature will be coming to Android and Chrome OS soon, where multiple displays are still pretty rare.
- Picture-in-picture video is now enabled by default in the Windows and Mac versions of the Google Chrome web browser, and there's already a proof-of-concept on YouTube.
- You can check out the proof-of-concept by right-clicking on a video twice and selecting the picture-in-picture option.
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