Earlier this month, we posted about the move the Chrome OS team was making to get rich media notifications out of your notifications area. This move is sorely needed as the vertical space on Chromebooks in this region is already a bit limited and those rich notification cards take up a ton of space. From what we can tell, that part of the equation is staying put and those cards will for sure be gone when all this work is done.
From those original commits, however, we were under the impression that media controls would live in a pop-up beside the standard tray as we mocked up in the photo at the top of this post. What we didn’t see coming was the bug that showed us yet another change on the way to media controls for Chromebooks. In this coming adjustment, the quick media controls (not Global Media Controls, mind you) look to be moving to a spot in the system tray just below the quick setting circles and above things like the volume and brightness controls. In this bug, the developers included a first look at what they are changing, and you can see it clearly working already in the video below:
So where are media controls going, then?
Digging a bit deeper into all this, we’ve come across a few more tidbits worth noting that may explain a bit about what is going on. In the video above, it is clear that the button next to the clock for the Global Media Controls we talked about earlier in the month is clearly still there and in play. We don’t think this is going anywhere. Instead, it seems there will be a quick playback control option in the tray and the option to pin those controls to the larger, more-detailed Global Media Controls.
Patching these things together, our assumption is that we’ll see Chromebooks larger than 10-inches get the option to pin and unpin the more-detailed Global Media Controls to the shelf. Small, quick controls will be available in the system tray and larger, more-detailed playback options will be housed in the Global Media Controls next to the tray. At least that’s what it looks like.
How this will all play out in practice should come to light in the next few Canary updates. Much of the work for the updated Global Media Controls is already merged, so we expect to see some of the frutits of this labor soon. Additionally, it looks like cast abilities will also get added to the more-detailed Global Media section as well, so as more abilities emerge for this feature (PIP support is already coming as well), it only makes sense that they wouldn’t try to smash all this into the newly-created quick playback controls that are being worked on in the video above. We’re keeping a close eye on all of this as it develops and will report back when a clearer picture of the new feature is ready to roll.