Google is apparently iterating on previously-spotted changes incoming for the media player controls on the Chromebook platform, prior to the release of those changes. That’s based on a recent report from XDA Developers, highlighting key changes in testing since the upcoming update was first noticed in early April.

The biggest change to the media player, as with that previously expected update, is in how users will interact with controls in the media player. That’s both in terms of UI and the interactions available.

So what’s different about the Chromebook media player?

For starters, a new drop-down button appears to be added, alongside several other oval-shaped buttons. Those show up just below the song title and provide access to frequently-used output devices. For instance, users can switch the output device to an attached external display or to headphones. The drop-down button displays a list of all available devices. That’s if there are too many output devices to show in the initial row.

Google is also working to fix a bug with album art in Chrome OS, by no longer cropping album art that’s set at an awkward crop ratio. Instead, Googlers are shrinking down the artwork to fit the album art placeholder box. A background color complementing the artwork will fill in any gaps. Specifically, gaps between the edge of the artwork and the frame of the placeholder. A blank placeholder will be shown instead if no artwork or site favicon is available.

Aside from those changes, the playback controls will also receive a thin-lined, colored circle outline. Google probably intends that to better separate the controls from one another. Additionally, Google added a new volume control in the form of a volume slider and mute button combination.  The picture-in-picture mode icon is getting the same treatment as well. That button’s icon is also smoothed out with rounded corners.

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When is this change actually going to arrive?

Now, previously, it had been suspected that because the ongoing playback feature alterations were so far along in development, they might arrive with Chrome OS 91. However, the feature freeze for that version happened back on March 26. And Chrome 91 is slated to release later this month, while Chromebooks will see the update starting June 1.

The fact that Googlers are still iterating on the changes this close to the next update is telling. Google most likely won’t have the new Chromebook media player ready for Chrome with the update to version 91. So the earliest this change could arrive now is likely with Chrome OS 92. That’s slated to be ready to go by July 27.



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