I’ll be honest and upfront right from the jump, here: I didn’t think Picture in Picture (PIP from here on) was that big of a deal when new features were unveiled for Android Oreo. I thought of it as a neat trick, but nothing more.
Since my Pixel received Android 8.0, however, I’ve found the feature quite a bit more useful than my initial reactions.
For what it is on a phone, it is kinda handy. Most handy is the ability to keep a Duo call up and running while doing other tasks on my phone. When using it in this way, it feels a bit like the future somehow.
Useless On Desktop, Right?
Even though I’ve come around on the feature on my phone, the usefulness on the desktop didn’t make sense to me at all. We’ve seen some commits around PIP support for Android, but really just assumed those were for Android.
Gabriel, however, has been talking about this feature showing up on the desktop for a while and we both have struggled with what it would be useful for. Nevermind that, there wasn’t hard proof that it was coming at all.
But now we have this post in the Developer’s blog, speaking of PIP support coming to the desktop and again I’m left asking why.
The post doesn’t delve into much detail on how the service would work, but it seems clear that any website would be able to enable the function and, when minimized, the video window would pop out in a player just like we see on Android when hitting the home button.
Though browser windows can be resized and floated wherever, this new feature could make it a much easier and simple action to have your video playing on the side while getting other things done.
I don’t see this as mind-blowing or futuristic, but it could end up feeling very useful.
I’ll hold off full judgment until we actually see this feature roll out. After all, my snap judgments of this for Android were found to be off-base, so there’s a chance I’ll be singing its praises a few months down the road. As we learn more, we’ll be sure to report.