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Chrome OS Audio Player’s Beautiful New Look

chrome os audio player redesign

Old Design Vs New Design

A new-look Audio Player is available for testing in the latest Dev Channel release of Chrome OS. 

The app, which is part of the Chrome file manager, is used as the default option for opening local audio files.

While the incumbent version is perfectly functional, the limited set of features, lack of session save support and dated interface of the app have meant many Chromebook owners prefer to use third-party alternatives like Remo for their media player needs.

But with a revamped UI, that could be about to change.

Extreme Makeover: Chrome Edition

chrome os audio player tile

The Old Player Was Basic

An updated version of the Chrome OS audio player can be enabled on the latest developer channel release of Chrome OS. It features new options, including ‘repeat’ and ‘shuffle’, and an overhauled UI sporting a brighter look using a colour palette in keeping with the rest of the OS.

The system accent colour (blue) is inherited for selected items, and a Chrome-coloured green is used to signal when an item is in an ‘active’ state (e.g., shuffle turned on, repeat turned on, amount of time elapsed, etc.).

Wider Control Strip With New Options

chrome os audio player redesign

New Options Have Been Added

An expanded set of player controls sits at the bottom of the player. Space has been afforded by moving the track progress bar above the control strip.

The play/pause, next and previous buttons, which were spaced out in the old version, are now centre-aligned in the middle of the strip and bookended by new features:

  • Shuffle
  • Repeat
  • Volume Control
  • Playlist Expander 

Sleeker Progress Bar With More Info

The progress bar has been made much thinner, and the ‘seek-ahead’ scrubber has been condensed from a glossy and slightly-pixelated lozenge to a discreet flat circle offset by a subtle drop-shadow.

Although the overall design looks thinner the target area — the bit which reacts to your mouse or touch — remains largely unchanged. Appearances can be deceptive.

The ‘active’ green accent is used to relay the elapsed portion of the currently playing track in the progress bar , which is also bookended by a ‘time elapsed’ count on the left, and a ‘total track time’ on the right.

Save and Restore

In addition to design tweaks the update also adds save and restore status for the following options:

  • Whether Repeat was on or off
  • Whether Shuffle was on or off
  • The previous Volume level
  • Whether the Playlist was expanded or collapsed

Still a Panel App

As a panel app the audio player sits next to system tray and can be minimised and restored by clicking its icon. The main player window is also able to ‘tear off’ and be positioned elsewhere on the screen and, if you have the screen space, ‘docked’ to the right-hand side.

New Icon

Finally, to go with the new look there is also a new icon:

Try It Out

As the player is part of the Chrome OS file manager it is not available to use or install outside of Chrome OS. 

To try it out you’ll need to be running the latest builds of Chrome OS Dev (ARM Chromebook users excluded for now) and enable the following flag:


Is the redesign a success? I certainly think so. It adds some much needed flavour to what was a stale app lacking finesse. Here’s hoping that the built-in video player is next in line for an Extreme Makeover: Chrome Edition.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

With thanks to Craig Tumblison 
  • Kenny Strawn

    The old icon looks too much like iOS 7’s, so I can certainly see why they changed it…

    • To be sued over an icon that “looks” like iOS 7? That’s stupid.

      • Kenny Strawn

        The iTunes trademark… That icon happens to be part of it.

        • I’m just saying it is stupid.

          • Lou G

            So is suing over a black, rectangular phone.

            but it is Apple.

          • Kenny Strawn

            Agreed with both of you. Apple has a clear history of abusing patent and trademark laws to stifle competition, there’s no doubt… but on the flipside, you certainly don’t see the same anti-Google merchandise being sold in front of Apple stores that you see in front of Microsoft stores, that’s for sure.

            Still, however, better change the icon than be sorry…

    • Rariteh

      Think different. Or we’ll sue you.

  • Zactu

    The video player also needs alot of improvement. Basic functionality is not there. eg codec support, subtitle support, etc.

  • I would love to a similar menu to arrive for Google Music. I like have quick access to controls without reopening the entire window.

  • jason

    I wish they would give us skin options. or make it blend better in with the background of the desktop with transparency.

    • W.G.

      Seeing how Google removed transparency from the browser title bar, wallpaper picker and from the OOBE screen, I wouldn’t expect them to add transparency to the media player.

  • Curtis Mitchell

    Nice! We still need some other basic features like being able to manage metadata and a useful way of organizing albums but this is a good start.

  • Rariteh

    I miss the album cover =(


    How Do You Install It?

  • I would love this to be compatible with web-apps like Spotify, Rdio, Soundcloud, and Google Music.

  • Ali Gregg

    the replay button doesn’t work for mine. :(

  • Yeesh. Chrome OS is getting uglier and uglier. From transparent windows (cool) to stark gray (meh) to solid eyebleeding white (yuck.) What’s wrong with Google’s design team these days?

  • Ali Gregg

    And now the files are all read as “unknown artist” for some reason.

  • I can’t get downloaded audio to play on my chromebook

  • bob

    It looks awful on my site. How can I change the white background color ?