How to enable picture-in-picture video playback in Google Chrome

If you are one who enjoys watching YouTube videos while working, but do not have an extra monitor to do so, we know how you feel. While most other browsers have a solution to this, those of you with Google Chrome might be feeling left out. While Safari on macOS has picture-in-picture video playback as a native feature, along with Opera for Windows and Mac, it’s Google Chrome that feels a bit out of place. What if I told you that you don’t have to feel left out anymore and that all of your woes can be fixed in a few simple steps?

Picture-in-picture video playback in Google Chrome

While there is no proprietary way to enable playback in Chrome since there are currently no flags to support the feature in the latest stable Chrome version, you will have to rely on extensions to do this job for you.

While there are plenty to choose from in Chrome Web Store, I personally prefers using Sideplayer as it comes with great recommendations from various members of the community. I have been using it for several years now, and throughout the years, it has been constantly reliable and always on point.

The extension works right after you install it from the store, all you have to do is look for a new button added to the YouTube player on the bottom right and soon enough, you will be able to play videos in a picture-in-picture view without any effort!

The player can be adjusted in size and position as you please.

You will have to switch back to the YouTube video tab and initiate the process again should you want to change the video, otherwise it will follow the autoplay playlist in YouTube’s recommended videos, and none of us want that.

This extension works on all desktop operating systems where Chrome browser works: Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS.

Chrome’s built-in picture-in-picture video feature

With all this in mind, it’s worth mentioning that if you find other extensions that enable Picture in Picture, we highly recommend you look up their reviews online or otherwise read through the reviews on the page itself. Many Chrome extensions are still very dubious in nature, so you shouldn’t treat every extension by its face value.

Future versions of Chrome are expected to support picture-in-picture video playback, out of the box. If you are adventurous enough and want to use Chrome’s built-in feature, you can enable the following flags:

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

After this, you’ll need to install this extension. When you a play YouTube video, right click on it twice to show the menu with the picture in picture option and click it. The video will start playing in an overlay immediately.

Chrome Picture in Picture

This feature also works on all desktop platforms where Chrome is supported: Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS.

Picture in Picture is a great feature for multi-tasking, specially if you are watching tutorial videos but don’t want to keep switching tabs which can be very distracting. While it can be used for leisurely purposes, just make sure you don’t get caught playing too many music videos while on your Workstation, that’s the reason we have Spotify.

In the modern day and age of managing several tabs at once, it is a blessing to be able to watch a video while working. While the process is yet to be ironed out on smartphones (without YouTube Red), we can hope that it can be as easy as this one day.