Google is testing an new media control button in its Chrome browser that, when enabled, would allow users to pause and resume playing videos in tabs. As shown in the image above, the button appears in the upper-right side of the browser, next to the URL bar, and is accessible even for videos that are playing in background tabs.
The feature is called Global Media Controls (GMC) and is available to test in the Canary build. You can install the Canary version of Chrome without overwriting your main Chrome installation (if you use that browser), as they can coexist without interrupting each other—it is like having a totally separate browser installed.
As currently implemented, the play/pause button is of limited value because it crashes the browser very time. The only thing I was able to do with it is bring it up in the browser. Even if I do not press any of the controls, the browser still crashes when navigating back to a webpage.
Google will presumably fix whatever is causing the GMC button to crash the browser, and when it does, it will be a neat addition to Chrome. How much memory it consumes, however, remains to be seen. Chrome has a reputation for feasting on resources (mostly RAM), and cramming more features into the browser probably will not reverse that trend.
In any event, if you want to try it out for yourself, go here to download and install Chrome Canary. Once you open the browser, type chrome://flags in the URL bar, then navigate to Global Media Controls (near the bottom) and select Enabled from the pull-down menu. Once you relaunch the browser and start playing a video or audio clip, you will see the GMC button.