Google released version 53 of its Chrome browser just a couple of days ago for Mac, Windows and Linux, but mobile users on Android need not worry. The company has a special place in its heart for its mobile OS - in fact, the Google Chrome Beta for Android version 54 is now available.
With version 54, Google introduced a handful of updates to Chrome Beta. The new version introduces a handful of features that include background video and playback and a redesigned new tab page, among others.
Playing Videos In The Background
Among the features that are packed in the said beta version, background video playback is perhaps the most significant.
In older iterations of Chrome, including version 53, videos will get paused once a new app is opened or after switching to the home screen. In version 54 beta, the videos will still get paused automatically but Android users are provided with an option to resume them via a media notification. Audio from the video will continuously be heard while using other apps.
This new feature works with mobile web and will detect pages running in the background. Users will receive the same notification when playing videos on video-hosting and video-sharing sites such as YouTube via mobile web.
Audio streams, on the other hand, are handled differently. Even when opening another app or switching to the home screen, the tracks will continue playing.
Note that the ability to play videos in the background used to be native to YouTube Red, a paid subscription service. Hence, there's a chance that this feature will be removed once Chrome for Android version 54 gets released.
Below is a video demonstration of this new feature. Hat tip to 9TO5Google for surfacing the demo.
Redesigned New Tab Page
While the Google logo, search bar and frequently viewed pages remain untouched, the redesigned new tab page no longer shows the Bookmarks and the Recent Tabs shortcuts. Both will now have to be accessed through a drop-down menu at the upper right of the UI.
Google also added a recommendations section, which Android Police describes as something akin to what Google Now offers.
"Interestingly, none of the articles were recommended to me through Google Now, so they don't seem to draw data from the same source," comments Android Police.
Aside from the two that are detailed, version 54 also brings Broadcast API and Custom Elements V1 for developers.
Before installing Chrome Beta for Android, bear in mind that this app is Google's testing dummy for new features and as such, it can be a little rough around the edges.