Ah, the power of the web. Every day, more and more tools are being created or honed to make the web a place for more powerful tools that can increase productivity and release us from the dependency of bloated, locally installed software. While powerful tools such as online video editors like Clipchamp or streaming game services like Stadia are extremely impressive, it is often the little things that can have the biggest impact on our day-to-day workflow. One such feature that could be headed to the Chrome browser very soon is the ability to speed up or slow down media playback.
I discovered a commit this morning from none other than François Beaufort who was responsible for much of the work that brought Picture-in-Picture to the Chrome browser. That’s just a small fraction of Mr. Beaufort’s contribution to Chrome and Chrome OS but needless to say, he’s one sharp cookie. In a bug report/feature request submitted by François Beaufort back on April 9, work began on bringing some simple playback controls to the Chrome browser’s native HTML media player. Because François is also a rather savvy developer himself, he is also the owner of the project in the Chromium repository and work is underway to make the feature a reality.
Add playback speed native control to media player
This CL adds a new playback speed button to media player native controls so that users can adjust audio/video playback rate.Chromium repository
The feature may seem like a very minor update but it should be a big deal for many users. The use-cases are quite practical. If you are scrubbing through a large number of videos, this will help reduce the amount of time you spend auditing or looking for specific content. Slowing video down can be useful if you’re trying to pinpoint a precise moment in a video for whatever reason. Digging into the feature’s commit, it appears that the playback speed options could range from 0.25x to 2x with the ability to adjust by .25x increments as needed. You’ll be able to access the playback speed from the three-dot menu that housed the PiP button and this should be available for Chrome Desktop, Android, and Chrome OS when it arrives. The commit attached to the feature request was opened just a couple of weeks ago so I don’t expect to see this arrive immediately but we could see it pop up in the Canary build of Chrome in the coming weeks if we’re lucky.
We’ll keep a close watch on this one and let you know when it goes live. Is this a feature that you would use? What’s your use-case? Drop a comment below and let us know. Who knows? Maybe François will read it and they’ll ramp up development. Stay tuned for updates.