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Chrome for Android Will Let You Play YouTube Videos In The Background

The latest Google Chrome Beta update will allow video sites like YouTube to keep playing in the background

A long requested feature of many, developers will be able to support backgrounded video elements using a new Page Visibility API.

The result: web videos will be able to continue to play even when you switch to another tab, or even to another app.

Heck, you can even turn your screen off and continue to hear the audio!

Chromium developers demo the new feature in action in the following video, which uses the latest Chrome 54 Beta on Android 7.0 and the TED Talks website.

You’ll notice that Chrome does not keep playing the minute you switch away. Instead it pauses the video and shows you a media notification with a play button. Tap this, and video resumes playing.

The feature is just one of several available for developers to grapple with in the latest Chrome Beta for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and Android. You can learn more on the Chromium blog.

Not using Google Chrome Beta for Android? Support for background video should land in the regular stable version of the app in around six weeks time.

  • Marc

    Were does this leave the YouTube Red account and its “background play” which is advertised as actual feature…

    • Chrome 54 also adds an API that allows pages to check if they are in the background. So potentially YouTube could block this whenever they get around to it.

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    • Wonderweiss

      It leaves you all STILL with the feature. You don’t HAVE to go to the browser.

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  • alvaro guzman

    Besides US, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand no more countries have youtube red, so is kind of good, but still i will prefer using the app instead of the browser version :P

    • Marc

      Most Apps use Chrome technology anyway, so I’m sure this will end up giving the app some speed and performance improvements.

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    • Farhan Afnan Iskandar

      it’s an API, I don’t think it will replace Red, It might will integrate Red to the web, so it might will be Red tied account required still

  • Vin

    So, does this mean that if I have a YouTube video playing in my Android phones’s YouTube app and:
    1. I dim the screen will the video still play? Currently, the moment the screen is dimmed by hitting the power button, the video stops. Otherwise, I have to let the screen be nice and bright as the video is playing. (This sucks if the video is really just a song and a long-one at that.)
    2. If I start surfing on my Chrome browser, will the video keep playing in the YouTube app in the background?

    • Porknaut

      The YouTube app can already play with the screen turned off. However, to use the feature, you have to purchase that new subscription Google keeps pushing.

      • Tomfoolery

        Yep – YouTube Red. Though it’s only available in a few countries right now.

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      • Vin

        When Google learns how to fix their free stuff first – like the heinous privacy issues they have between Google Drive and File Manager in Chrome OS – then I will consider giving Google more of my money.

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    • Wonderweiss

      no u wont beableto

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      • Vin

        What I fail to understand then is what this OMG Chrome post is all about then…

        • AustinPuppyUSA

          Your reply makes no sense at all. This article is about Chrome. Not the YouTube app. It will allow you to play a video on the YouTube site through Chrome. You have to be playing the video in Chrome for this to work. The YouTube app is a whole different story and requires a YouTube Red subscription for background play.

          • Vin

            Yeah, but I use the Chrome browser on my Android phone. My understanding was originally what you said – you need YouTube Red. But, the way I interpreted Joey’ post is that I might be able to use my Chrome brower on my Android phone while still having my YouTube app play videos….

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          • Vin

            OK, I think I am with the program – YouTube in the Chrome browser versus YouTube app. One would think that, if they tweak the browser, they ought to tweak the app as well. After all, why pay for YouTube Red if I can get what I want from You Tube through the Chrome Browser? (I already get that on my Chromebook.) Anyway, thanks for clarifying that.
            Part of my confusion stems from the chaos that is the entire Google/Chrome/Android ecosystem. I understand their history and that they weren’t born together with a smooth environment in mind, but still, it is disheartening at times. I am old (53) and am used to monolithically developed products like old HP calculators or Apple computers from a generation ago. With these products, ever aspect of the end-user experience was controlled and consistent. You paid premium dollar, but you got high quality.
            I guess Google is just another example of “You get what you pay for.” That said, I look forward to future improvements.
            Thanks again!

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  • jjcoolaus

    I have wanted this for the longest time! THANKS CHROME!

    This is invaluable, for example, if you are watching the 6pm news on the train home, and you come to your stop so you just want to listen to the rest of the stories while you walk home. OK use a bit more data, sure, but I also bookmark the low quality streams as well as high quality ones of local TV stations.

    Just tried it, it works fine for m3u8 links

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  • Farhan Afnan Iskandar

    but it’s an API, It depends how dev. will make it. if Google think that feature only for YouTube Red, It willkeep being like that. What’s more?

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  • there’s no pause or a play button. When I’m watching a youtube video in Chrome on Android, and I hit back to go back to facebook or whatever, the audio automatically keeps playing and there’s no controls anywhere in notifications or anything. It’s SUPER annoying. I have to hit the “Recent apps” button and hope the YouTube tab shows up there, navigate back to the video, and hit pause before I navigate away.

    This is the single most annoying “feature” I’ve ever come across.

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