Chrome OS is Testing a New Media App

A System Web App (SWA) has shown up in the latest version of Chrome OS Canary channel. We can access the app from the URL: chrome://media-app and also as an pre-installed app in the launcher.

Chromebook Media App

The app is in the very early stages of its development. When you launch the app, you will get an “OPEN” button with the instructions to “Drag and drop a file or select open”.

We were able to test the new app with images and video files. The video played without much playback control options. There was only a play/pause button on the screen.

For images, you will get basic image editing options, similar to that of the existing Gallery app.

Here is a comparison of both apps with in the edit mode.

Editing images on Chromebook

System Web Apps

Google has been experimenting with System Web Apps for a while now. The Chrome OS Settings app is an example. These will be available as a standalone app and also on through a URL.

We have noticed multiple code commits in the past weeks to make a System Web App version of the Camera app as well. The latest version of Chrome OS Canary channel contains a flag to enable the SWA version of the Camera app.

Camera System Web App: Run the Chrome Camera App as a System Web App. – Chrome OS

The Media App is slightly different from these past changes. Camera and Settings were existing apps and Google simply added a SWA version of those two. However, Chrome OS does not have a standalone Media app at the moment. The media playback features of Chrome OS are baked-into the Files app.

Do you think this transition to web apps have something to do with Google’s upcoming Fuchia app? Let us know in the comments field.

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