Google is planning to make a big change to Chrome’s picture-in-picture mode that will allow users to open non-video content. This new version of picture-in-picture might support interactive media contents like images or certain types of embedded contents like audio while you continue to browse the web.
As you’re probably aware, Google Chrome’s existing picture-in-picture feature can only play videos. In an upcoming update, however, it will be possible to play interactive HTML content in the picture-in-picture mode, making multitasking easier for users.
The project is currently called PIP 2.0 and it aims to enable interactive HTML content in the PiP window. Interactive content is a subjective term, so we don’t how the search engine giant is planning to upgrade picture-in-picture mode, but you can expect support for audio, embed, iframe, img, and more.
“This is part of a series for the new picture-in-picture v2 feature that allows always-on-top windows with arbitrary content. This CL introduces the new window subtype and sets the Z layer to show it on top of other content. Followup CLs will add additional behavior changes,” Google noted in one of the posts on Chromium.
There’s another Chromium post stating that a new code in Chrome will “hide the window frame and location bar (after a timeout) when the [PiP] window loses focus” and add it again when the focus is regained.
“The promise will allow a clearer async API and would offer a way to expose that interactive isn’t supported by the platform,” Google Chrome engineers noted in a support document.
“When Picture-in-Picture is requested and the window is displayed we will copy the requested element to the body of the new window. We should use the deep version of the Document.importNode algorithm for copying,” the company added.
A new web-based PiP feature for Chrome
In the same document, Google is using a new term “web Picture-in-Picture window” to describe the upcoming change.
While the idea sounds interesting, it could expose users to potential security and privacy issues, and Google is exploring a solution.
“For interactive Picture-in-Picture there are concerns around impersonating system UI. Therefore, we will ensure the UX of the Picture-in-Picture window is distinct enough by adding a border (and maybe an indicator of the origin),” the company said.
Google says it will disable permission prompts and autofill or similar sensitive features and also remove regular keyboard events to reduce the attack surface of the Picture-in-Picture window.
In addition to upgraded picture-in-picture, Google is also believed to be working on additional design improvements for Chrome on Windows.