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Chrome Tests Picture-in-Picture API To Show Floating Video Popups Outside the Browser (bleepingcomputer.com) 150

Browser makers are working on a new W3C API that will standardize Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode and allow websites to show a floating video popup outside the browser window itself. From a report: In the past, picture-in-picture has only been supported inside a web page's canvas as a floating window that only appeared inside the current website, as the user scrolled up and down the page. Some platforms added support for a picture-in-picture mode, but those were OS-specific APIs that worked with all sorts of video apps, not just browsers. Now, the Web Platform Incubator Community Group (WICG) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), has released details about a browser-specific API for standardizing picture-in-picture interactions that allow websites to open an external "floating video" popup outside the browser window itself. [...] Chrome and Safari have already shipped out the new Picture-in-Picture API.

Chrome Tests Picture-in-Picture API To Show Floating Video Popups Outside the Browser

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  • Worst. Idea. Ever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:43PM (#56610018) Homepage

    You thought pop-over ads and auto-play videos were bad before?!?? Hopefully this can be disabled...

    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:45PM (#56610046)

      I'm with you on this:

      You thought pop-over ads and auto-play videos were bad before?!?? Hopefully this can be disabled...

      Do. Not. Want.

      I can think of a few legitimate uses for this outside advertising, but I know that advertising will be the main use of this. This WOULD make me switch browsers. I would not use a browser that allows such an egregious violation of my desktop. Implement this and be boycotted.

      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:26PM (#56610334) Journal

        You forget, you are the product. Your opinion doesn't count.

        • by SumDog ( 466607 )

          This is the reality for web browsers. This is why I hated Chrome when it came out. Google made a closed source browser based on open components in Webkit/Gecko (it has since been opened under Chromium, but it didn't start that way).

          We're pretty much in the same browser world that we are with most of our other "free" as in beer products.

          • Lots of people use open source browsers, even Free Software browsers. They work quite well. So claiming it is "the reality for web browsers" is just a ridiculous statement.

            If you're pathologically unable to use good software, own it, don't blame reality.

        • by higuita ( 129722 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @04:15PM (#56610642) Homepage

          use firefox, there you are not the product ... they may still do not listen to you, but at least they are finally slowly disabling tracking

          • And how does Mozilla get their money?
            https://www.computerworld.com/... [computerworld.com]

            • when was the last time you donated to Mozilla? Good code doesn't write itself... their first priority is users, plus you can always change your search engines. From what I understand, they defaulted back to google because that's what people requested.
          • use firefox, there you are not the product ... they may still do not listen to you, but at least they are finally slowly disabling tracking

            Very slowly. This tracking bug is still going after only 17 years, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/s... [mozilla.org]

            • by higuita ( 129722 )

              notice that bug is a "tracking bug", not a but about tracking! :D

              It is a meta-bug to follow all the favicons related bugs, so unless favicons disappear or all bugs are fixed, it will be open for a long time
              But you can find other bugs related with tracking, most of then related with cookies and fingerprinting methods in the browsers that have several years...it is not easy to fix most of then as they may have valid usages

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You forget, you are the product. Your opinion doesn't count.

          You forget, if your "product" leaves, then so to do the people who pay you.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Clearly bullshit. Google started including an ad-blocker in Chrome ffs. They very obviously do care about your experience using the browser.

          And with Chrome you are not the product. You can use it without any connection to Google. Their interest is in developing the web as a platform, because that's where they make their money.

          As usual the reality of this feature is rather different to the default assumptions of most posters. It's basically like the F12 full screen key. If you want to have the video overlaid

          • This comic [commitstrip.com] pretty much sums up what I think of Google's "adblocker". Or as I like to call it, "ad-sieve" because it only weeds out those ads that don't pay protection money to Google.

            If I want to play a second video, I open a second browser window and play the video. Care to inform me what I'd want about this contraption?

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Google doesn't take money to pass ads through it's block. Show me some evidence if you have it.

              The overlay feature is borrowed from mobile. When you are on one screen you might want the main browser to be full size, but also have the video playing overlaid in the corner. It's not something I would use, but it's something that people seem to like on phones. Some manufacturers even offer in the browser already, e.g. Samsung.

              • The overlay feature is borrowed from mobile. When you are on one screen you might want the main browser to be full size, but also have the video playing overlaid in the corner. It's not something I would use, but it's something that people seem to like on phones.

                I hate it on my phone. Glad I don't use Chrome on the desktop.

              • Google gets to define what is an "acceptable" ad and what isn't. I don't doubt that they actually have an interest to weed out the most obnoxious ones simply to keep people from installing adblockers that shut out every ad, but since there are hardly any hard guidelines to follow, it basically comes down to "whatever Google deems bad".

                And unless you can name a different motivator for a corporation than money, I'd like to hear it.

                If it's for mobile, fine, implement it in the mobile browser. I can't argue whe

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  Details of what counts as unacceptable here: https://www.betterads.org/stan... [betterads.org]

                  Google is a member of this group, but only one of many.

                  • Yes, I've read that. In the end what remains is that Google, and only Google, will get a say in what is going to be considered "permitted ads" in Chrome and what isn't. That requires trusting them. And so far I am sorry to say it but Google is not a company I would put my trust in. I prefer to trust an ad blocker that simply disables all ads, mostly because I know why Google created this ad filter in the first place.

                    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                      I doubt that, because if they just started blocking ads that compete with their own there would be legal consequences. The EU would be involved, applying some hefty fines.

                      But let's not speculate, let's just see what actually happens.

        • Only if you allow yourself to be and slavishly accept whatever any browser maker throws at you. There are alternatives. There are always alternatives. Yes, that means you have to take care of it yourself instead of simply accepting what's thrown your way.

          Freedom doesn't just mean you can do what you want. It means that you must, because if you let others decide what you want, you'll get what they want.

      • by SumDog ( 466607 )

        No you're not. Everything is either webkit, chromium or gecko based today (or Titan for people who hate themselves). Firefox quantum is far from the performance beast we were told it was going to be. I'm on Vivaldi right now, but it follows the Chromium rendering engine (which itself was split from a hybrid webkit/gecko source years ago).

        Pretty soon we'll be out of options. Remember when Firefox was the scaled down, super fast version of Mozilla? Today a web browser is a bloated heavy weight operating syste

        • by higuita ( 129722 )

          firefox quantum had one big component replaced with better, multi-thread code ... there are still many parts to be replaced. Some parts, chrome will always be faster, spawning 100 process to render 5 tabs may be more flexible in terms of performance... but at cost of ram! chrome eats my machine ram with few tabs, while firefox with hundred of tabs stays with about 4GB

        • If only you actually used web browsers, you'd probably think of doing a web search to find out what the other options are.

          If you did use a web browser, you wouldn't really even have to know how search works, you could just type a question into the part of the screen with a place to type stuff and then press Enter.

      • This is why I never stopped using Firefox in the first place. Trust matters. Don't go from ownership to sharecropping just because a company made you the offer.

    • by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:48PM (#56610072)

      Exactly. Now all the sites that obnoxiously start playing videos when you load the pages (and nothing stops all of them) are going to pop open windows to do the same. Pop-up to the side, pop-up over top, pop-under...

      And is there a limit to how many windows a site can open this way?

      What could possibly go wrong?

    • by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:04PM (#56610174)

      I came here to say this... Who is asking for these features?

      • The same people who asked for autoplay and demanded browser makers implement it on by default (something, thankfully, they're finally backtracking on)?

        I want my Flash video back. It was better. Easier to control. One plug-in per operating system rather than per-browser (if you're going "Huh?" look up how W3C implemented DRM in HTML5.) I was OK with Flash. I didn't like it, but only the W3C could make something worse than Flash.

        • The same people who asked for autoplay and demanded browser makers implement it on by default (something, thankfully, they're finally backtracking on)?

          I want my Flash video back. It was better. Easier to control. One plug-in per operating system rather than per-browser (if you're going "Huh?" look up how W3C implemented DRM in HTML5.) I was OK with Flash. I didn't like it, but only the W3C could make something worse than Flash.

          Uh, Flash, Adobe reader, Java, etc. require different plugins for different browsers.

          • Uh, Flash, Adobe reader, Java, etc. require different plugins for different browsers.

            Now they do, but only IE needed a "special plugin" back when Flash was a thing. At the time Flash was at its peak, everything (except IE) supported NSAPI.

            Moreover, if a third party wants to produce a browser today, supporting Flash just means supporting NSAPI. Whereas the "Each browser/operating system combination needs its own DRM plug-in" is by design, there will never be a case where you'll be able to workaround the

      • MANY USERS:

        "Many users want to continue consuming media while they interact with other content, sites, or applications on their device," Google software engineer François Beaufort explained this past January when he proposed the idea of a browser-specific API, different from the existing OS-level implementations. "The proposed Picture-in-Picture API allows websites to initiate and control this behavior," he says.

        • Yeah I can see the use case. However, I can already pull the tab out into a new window if I want. Problem solved, without adding yet more stuff for advertisers to take advantage of.

        • You mean, like, having a browser window with YouTube open on one screen while reading an article in another browser window on the second screen?

          Care to inform me what the huge invention is about the planned change? Get to the part where it actually offers me any benefit.

      • Who is asking for these features?

        The advertisers, of course. They are, after all, the ones paying the bills.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is indeed the worst idea ever, and will give crypto miners another way.

    • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:30PM (#56610364) Homepage

      Oh this is just fucking awesome. I really can't think of any way for it to get better than this!! I thought having the video chase me down the page was the greatest thing since paper cuts and hang nails. But was so fucking WRONG!!!

    • This will be used to make those "Your machine is infected" ads look even better for non-tech people to fall for. Anything browser related should be clearly in the browser!

      • by Armonk ( 5413686 )

        This will be used to make those "Your machine is infected" ads look even better for non-tech people to fall for. Anything browser related should be clearly in the browser!

        I predict a significant rise in the number of Zombie machines owned by various botnets in the near future...

    • Yes, the default setting should be for all the videos to float over the heads of the people who came up with this.

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:45PM (#56610040)
    This seems like a return to the bad old days of pop-up ad windows over pop-up windows, but now with extra bandwidth-sluuuurping video. Disable. For good. With prejudice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stop with the Standards Bloat.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Train0987 ( 1059246 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:51PM (#56610090)

    No user has ever asked for this. Advertisers, yes, but actual users, no. This move should prove once and for all who Google exists for.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:54PM (#56610110)

      Google’s customers are ad buyers. Now this decision makes much more sense, no?

    • I would ask for this. They actually broke an extension that used to provide this. I had to install the Netflix app to put video in the corner when it was easier to just use the browser. That old extension let you put video always-on-top in its own window with no UI.

      Of course, it should be fully opt-in without even so much as a request prompt being possible by the vendor, much the same way that casting from the browser works now.

    • You're wrong. People want to watch the current YouTube video while they find the next video to watch. This is the same functionality as PiP on tv's originally. Watch the very basic video, hear the audio, do something else.

      The argument that no one wants it is bullshit. The argument should be put that in an app. If you want YouTube PiP get the app. Skip the web browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:58PM (#56610140)

    Almost every news site now is already being offensive with their autoplay video that follows you and also jumps around on the page as you scroll down. And the video players don't all work the same -- some of them you click in the middle to pause, some you have to locate the pause button (wherever it may be), some of them can be closed entirely, others cannot. But universally I stop all of these videos. Neither the video nor the audio are wanted.

    Putting these autoplay video sinto a popout window doesn't solve the problem, it only moves the problem into a popout window. W. T. F.

    • Close page.

      NEXT!

      Fuck them. I'm not wasting my time making their site work. If it doesn't provide what I'm looking for or makes using it more painful than it has to be, close page and add the URL to the "-site:" string in the search.

  • Just stop, nobody wants this but those who live to make everyone else's life miserable.

    Please just stop..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously,,, this browser is getting un installed..like now

  • Stop Using Chrome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ecsyle ( 1002646 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:01PM (#56610160)
    Stop using a web browser developed by an advertising company. This is all of our fault, for making Chrome popular.
    • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:15PM (#56610258)
      Exactly! You should use something like Safari since Apple isn't dependent on advertising dollars and has said how they care about your data and...

      Chrome and Safari have already shipped out the new Picture-in-Picture API

      ...oh...

    • So it's not hard to stop using their version of this crap takes off. And there's always Firefox.
    • Maybe you're right that you're one of the people responsible, but don't blame me.

      I've been running open source browsers since the 90s. They work well. And did you know you can bypass many news paywalls by browsing with lynx? (Or just turning stylesheets off for that page)

      There was a time when slashdot was only safe to browse in ASCII, even.

  • by bytestorm ( 1296659 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:09PM (#56610200)
    This breaks the window to content relation, unless it goes away when unfocused. And if it goes away, why bother having it outside the content window? If the user can't figure out which web page/app generated the pop-out, this feature is only going to cause frustration.
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

    Nooooooooooo.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    videos that bypass your volume controls and blast you with their ads!

  • To me, it looks like the only reason why google is proposing this "feature" is to allow advertiser to be even more intrusive into my browsing experience.
    • Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, all allowing video separate from your browsing window with no space wasted on tabs. Back in the 90's, I accomplished this with an ATI All-in-wonder card and a coaxial cable tv connection. The TV app was an always-on-top window and could be set to have no borders and resized as small as you want.

  • 1. Lazy IT guy surfing the internet at desk

    2. Boss walks up to desk; Lazy IT guy sees him approach in rear-view mirror taped to monitor

    3. Lazy IT guy minimizes Chrome session.

    4. Boss stares hard at un-minimized pr0n video auto-playing behind the now-minimized Chrome session.

    5. Lazy IT guy does Walk of Shame with box out to parking lot...

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:20PM (#56610296)

    Adverts, yes. Bleah.

    What about security implications? Perhaps the "video" simulates other applications, other windows?

    • Agreed. Adverts are annoying, but the potential for spoofing other applications is far worse (even if initially difficult to exploit). 100% user-controlled may just about be acceptable - simply make it a property of any video control in the webpage, and it's instantly available on all websites without having to change a thing - but even then I wouldn't bet against it being exploited.

    • Perhaps the "video" simulates other applications, other windows?

      The potential fail-level on both security and UI/UX is grand enough to put this in the top running for Worst Tech Idea of the Year.

      I bet the PHB's patted themselves on the back as a way to "make our wonderful ads stand out from the crowd", and gave each other raises. Sick.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I use a white list now for javascript. If they want to show obnoxious ads and their site doesn't work without it js, fuck them. Don't need it. Plenty of better things to do than watching lame videos and badly produced advertising.

  • Only If it's absolutely impossible to auto popup, I just maybe... possibly... nope. Still blocking it.

  • The World Wide Web.

    Born 1991. Died 2018

    RIP.

  • And if I make the browser window full screen?

    Does it pop up on the screen of the dip shit whose idea this was?

    Because I could kind of get behind that...

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:45PM (#56610478)

    If you are browsing on a phone and lock your phone, the standard dictates a drone deliver a second phone to you with the video still playing where you left off.

  • First off, it's not enabled just yet. You have to jump through some hoops to enable it. [bleepingcomputer.com] You have to go through all this, at the moment:

    In chrome://flags enable the following flags:
    #enable-experimental-web-platform-features
    #enable-surfaces-for-videos
    #enable-picture-in-picture

    Download and extract the extension zip file.

    In chrome://extensions toggle Developer mode (upper-right corner) if it is not already on.

    To load the extension, click Load Unpacked.

    In

  • This is what the lack of decent window management on all the major platforms has led to. Both Windows, MacOS, and Linux have evolved their window management to the point where the only reasonable choice is to keep everything full screen.

    Sure, you CAN have overlapping windows, but:

    1) You'll have to fiddle endlessly with the mouse to get them arranged half-decently
    2) New windows will appear in annoying places
    3) As soon as you try to interact with a window, that window will pop in front of the actually useful

    • 3) As soon as you try to interact with a window, that window will pop in front of the actually useful data you were looking at in the other windows

      I use Linux with Xfce and Compiz. It's not uncommon for me to open a terminal, set it to Always On Top and compare what I see there with what's on a web page. The browser has the focus, I can scroll up and down and even fill out a form, or make a comment, such as here, with the terminal still covering part of the browser. If you can't do that, there's somet
    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      I've been doing that since 1985 when the screen was just 512x342. Now my usual screen is 1920x1200, with a web browser taking up about 60% of that area. You just have to learn a few habits, mostly strategic management of edges and corners, hiding apps you aren't using, and often the Dock's "bring all windows of one application to the front" behavior helps too.

      Actually, the thing that helps that most is apps that remember where you last put windows and which things you last had open. Web browsers rememberin

  • Test of W3C (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @04:32PM (#56610760)

    To be fair "This specification was published by the Web Platform Incubator Community Group. It is not a W3C Standard nor is it on the W3C Standards Track."

    If this ever changes and W3C is willing to pursuit such a blatantly anti-user misfeatures the organization will have lost all remaining respect and legitimacy with me for what little that's worth.

  • First it says:
    "The proposed Picture-in-Picture API allows websites to initiate and control this behavior," he says.
    According to the new API, websites will be able to control when to open or close the PiP popup, set the popup size, overlay custom controls, restrict certain
    interactions inside the popup, and gather statistics on when users open or leave PiP and how they used it.
    Then it says:
    Most importantly, during Bleeping Computer's experiments, we've noticed the PiP extension would float almost al
  • The stated reason for this proposal is:
    [blockquote]"Many users want to continue consuming media while they interact with other content, sites, or applications on their device"[/blockquote]

    How about, instead web designers design their sites to work well with windows open side by side?!
    I'm talking about you, Google! And especially about Youtube after the redesign. There is a reason why I still use the "classic mode" on Youtube.

  • I can see this being useful for help videos on some of the web apps we design so that your average user can play a video, slid it out from the content (preferably on a secondary screen) and follow along to the video without having to leave his current session. I can also see this being annoying for pretty much everything else.
  • I rarely use chrome... my go to browser is firefox and it has been for a long time... Sometimes I use Opera but very rarely do I use Chrome, Safari, IE or Edge.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?

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