Google Chrome is Testing Picture-in-Picture Mode for Custom Tabs: Report

Google Chrome for Android is reportedly working on an interesting feature that allows users to minimise a custom tab in picture-in-picture (PiP) mode. Chrome Custom Tab is a feature extended by the browser for third-party app developers who want to build an in-app web browser experience via Chrome browser. This new update will allow users to browse through pages without worrying about losing the desired webpage. Recently, Google also announced new generative artificial intelligence (AI) features for the Chrome browser for Windows and Mac PCs.

Spotted by 9to5Google, the under-testing feature is only available for Chrome Custom Tabs. For the unversed, these are the web pages that open when one clicks a link in apps such as Gmail. Opening such a URL reportedly shows a downward arrow next to the back icon. Tapping on the arrow minimises the window into a PiP interface. The PiP window shows information such as website icons, the name of the site or page, and the domain. The feature was seen in Chrome 122, which is a stable version, but as per the report it has only been rolled out to a small batch of users.

As per the screenshots shared, the content on the page cannot be seen while the tab is minimised. It is not known whether opening a video streaming site such as YouTube and playing a video will show the video in PiP mode or not.

The report also highlights that the PiP window can be resized to make it larger and be moved around the screen, although it can only be docked on the left or the right edge. To go back to the page, users can tap on the window and click the fullscreen icon placed in the middle, and to close it, either swiping it to the bottom or tapping the ‘x’ icon will do the trick. Only one tab can be kept in PiP mode at a time, as per the report.

This can be a useful feature for Chrome Custom Tabs as currently, they lack the option to open multiple tabs. Users can navigate to other pages through in-site links but to return to the original page, they will have to move backwards through all the web pages. The process can be tedious and act as a deterrent for users to explore other pages, even if they want to.

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