In a bid to keep more eyeballs on its content, Google is testing a new feature for the YouTube desktop player that will allow you to minimize a video to a thumbnail that will keep playing while you browse. It's a feature that's already available in the YouTube apps for iOS and Android, but it hasn't been seen before on the desktop.
According to 9to5Google, the feature is currently in A/B testing for a small group of users. If you're part of the test group, if you begin playing a video then click anywhere else on the YouTube site the clip will keep playing in a floating window.
The window features a few basic controls, including play/pause, replay and skip. You can also close the thumbnail once it's playing, but there doesn't seem to be any way to prevent it appearing if you're part of the test group.
Get picture-in-picture now
If you can't wait for YouTube's own picture-in-picture tool to arrive, or you want to keep playing a video while you browse other sites, a similar feature is already available through Firefox's Test Pilot program. Min Vid is an experimental tool that lets you keep a YouTube or Vimeo video playing in a small window while you browse any site.
Test Pilot is a program that lets users try new features before they're incorporated into Firefox itself. To try it, install the Test Pilot extension, then pick the Min Vid experiment from the list of available options.
There's no guarantee that Min Vid will become part of Firefox itself, but it's been in testing for quite a while so the signs look positive.