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How to control music without switching tabs in Chrome

Music lovers have options for listening on the Web, but it can be hard to track down the right tab to skip a track. Unity Player lets you control your music from any tab.

Whether you're the DJ at your workplace or you just like to browse Web radio at home, there are a zillion options for listening to your favorite tunes. One drawback of Web-based listening is keeping track of the tab that's playing the music when you need to backtrack, skip ahead, or otherwise control the flow. Unity Player is a great, free Chrome extension that lets you use basic controls from any tab. Here's how to use it: 

  • Install Unity Player here. 
  • You should now have an icon in the upper right of Chrome that looks like a musical note. When you've got music playing in some other Chrome tab, just click that icon to bring up a small control panel featuring the album art.
    Unity Player in action.
    Unity Player in action. Rob Lightner/CNET
  • Skip ahead, pause, backtrack, thumbs-up, or thumbs-down as you wish. 
  • You can also click the album art thumbnail to bring up the tab that is playing the music if you want to make changes or close it entirely. 

That's it! The range of music apps covered is fairly broad and includes Grooveshark, Turntable.fm, Google Music, and Pandora. There's no support for Spotify or Last.fm yet, but I'd expect the developers to add them pretty quickly if they can. (Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET.)