Google is adding a little treat for audiophiles in the next version of Chrome. Chrome 56, which is expected to rolling out by the end of January, is coming with the native support for FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio files meaning you can play the high-quality sound files directly in the browser.
FLAC support is already live in Chrome’s beta build, and it is live in the current version of Chrome OS, too. If you’ve local FLAC files or come across one on the web, the added support enables Chrome to open it up in a completely bare-bones music player that takes over the entire tab.
What Is FLAC Anyway?
FLAC, which stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, is a lossless audio format with a growing reputation. FLAC files typically large, being, on average, around 6 times the size of an MP3.
FLAC fans know that Chrome is hardly the first piece of software to play FLACs. Windows 10 comes out with support built-in so you can open FLACs in Windows Media Player or a slew of other media programs. Modern phone also support FLAC out of the box or via apps. However, if you really want to play one of these files in your Chrome browser, you will now be able to do so.
Especially Useful for Mac Users
Windows 10 and any apps which take advantage of its API already offer native support for FLAC. However, macOS doesn’t offer native support for FLAC, which means that Mac users currently have to use something like VLC. Now, Mac users with the Chrome installed have another option.
Chrome version 56 is expected to drop sometime in late January, at which point FLAC support will be available to all users of the desktop version of the browser. Mozilla’s flagship browser is set to receive the same functionality later this month, as of the release of Firefox 51.