Near the beginning of May, the Chrome development team massively overhauled the global media controls design and functionality for Chrome and Chrome OS. Now, it fits much more with the design of the Chromebook shelf and UI, and I love it. I’m even getting accustomed to the upside-down nature of its layout. Yesterday, I attempted to cast a Youtube video to my living room TV and was met with something a bit different than what I was used to. Instead of showing me only nearby cast devices, I was also presented with all of my connected input and output audio peripherals.
As you can see from the image above, My USB headphones, desk microphone, speakers, and more are visible directly from the media control panel as options for where I can send my content. One thing to know is that this isn’t detecting connected devices, per se, but rather devices that have been connected and identified by Windows 10 that currently exist in the sound settings of the PC – whether or not they’re connected.
I think this is an interesting addition to Global Media Controls – Instead of playing the audio and then changing which source you’re hearing it through, you can cast to that source instead to change it. Perhaps this simply provides easier toggling between your inputs by treating them as cast devices. What if there doesn’t need to be a distinction between casting and switching? I’m in favor of this! Obviously, this will only work in Chrome, so if you want to swap to another pair of headphones elsewhere, you’ll have to go through your system tray sound settings.
Google must be attempting to make Chrome wholly capable on its own apart from the operating system because, well, it is one nowadays. Even if the company has no intention of forcing Chrome to become self-sufficient on Windows, it’s merely a positive side effect of Chrome becoming self-sufficient on Chromebooks out of necessity as it evolves into a more competent operating system. Either way, let me know down below if this is something you think you’ll use, or if it’s clutter and you hope Google allows you to disable it in the browser’s settings.