Chrome OS Rich Notifications Are Expanding Beyond Android Apps

Chrome OS notifications will be taking yet another step toward continuity with Android in the near future with cards that allow a much deeper control over media playback, based on a recently spotted change in the Canary Channel of the OS. That’s because the notifications in that beta channel — currently version 76.0.3802.0 — now show media controls for content that’s being played on the device.

Referred to as ‘rich notifications’ on the Android side of things, the notifications appear almost identically to those on the mobile platform. Namely, they take the form of a Material Design-consistent card with a background image that’s related to the media that’s being played back. Buttons to skip forward, pause, play, or skip back are displayed, as is the name of the source and title of the content.

Isn’t this already a thing?

Notifications in Google’s Chrome OS have come rapidly over the past several months, bringing quick settings tiles, sliders, and individual notification cards as well as the ability to halt notifications or clear them all at once.

In fact, for those users on the OS who have already been making use of Android apps directly for playback instead of websites, the new cards are already going to be very familiar.

Unlike the previous iteration allowing for Android app cards, however, the new cards also aren’t going to show up for those who have taken the time to stop the Chrome browser from surfacing notifications. It isn’t likely to work for any websites that have had notifications individually halted either.

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That’s because the new rich notifications extend the rich notifications feature beyond downloaded apps to the browser itself. Now, users will be able to control the playback of media from Google Play Music, YouTube, and from other sources, just as they can on Android directly from the notification shade.

For example, the Google Play Music Android application in Chrome OS will show a similar card in the notifications prior to the impending update. When loading up the website for the service and tapping the play button, that doesn’t happen. For now, it only shows a notification indicating that the website is playing media and what is playing.

The current notification quickly disappears after only a few seconds too and contains no media controls whatsoever. So the big difference here is that the rich notifications will work across the board and will persistently show media playback controls. That will make it easier than ever to control the entertainment experience with a simple tap on the system tray in the bottom-right-hand corner of the launcher shelf.

This will probably land soon

The latest variant of Chrome OS’s media playback notifications was spotted in the Canary Channel in Chrome 76 and, as noted above, doesn’t require any special switches to be flipped or settings turned on to work.

That appears to suggest that the feature will arrive soon. It may land on the Stable version of the OS in its present form or very close to it by the Stable Channel update to Chrome 76 in late July. That would pin the change down to early August, with Chromebook updates typically following behind the general Chrome update by several weeks.

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