Time to worry: Google Chrome's PiP may soon be able to support non-video content

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Google Chrome

Google recently introduced the Picture-in-Picture mode for Chrome users. The feature is currently available for both PC and Mobile users but supports only the video content.

Now, according to a new commit (via Windows Latest), Google might be planning to add more to the feature making it available for non-video content as well. The post says that the engineers are considering adding “support for requesting a Picture-in-Picture window that can contain arbitrary HTML content instead of a video layer”.

We are adding support for requesting a Picture-in-Picture window that can contain arbitrary HTML content instead of a video layer. This content can be either interactive or not.

The original Picture-in-Picture API is limited to HTMLVideoElement. It takes the video layer and moves it into a window that follows display rules specific to Picture-in-Picture. Various partners expressed interest for a more flexible API. The feature requests fell into two categories: customising the look & feel and customising the user experience. The former can technically be done using canvas elements but the latter requires a different model that would require user interaction and therefore no longer be compatible with Android, iOS and macOS APIs.

This feature might suggest that Chromium-based browsers will soon be able to load arbitrary HTML content in addition to the videos. Worryingly however these floating windows could be a new style of pop-up that shows up without any user interaction. Even more worryingly the feature does not appear to be driven by user demand but only by various Google “partners.”

There’s no ETA at the moment so we can’t say for sure when the feature will be available for the users.

More about the topics: google, google chrome