Audiophiles are getting a new way to listen to one of the top formats for lossless music. As spotted by 9to5Google, Google has begun adding FLAC support to Chrome, and it should be rolling out to the masses very soon.
FLAC support is already live in Chrome’s beta build, and 9to5Google says it’s live in the current version of Chrome OS, too. If you have local FLAC files or come across one on the web, the added support allows Chrome to open it up in a completely bare-bones music player that takes over the entire tab.
It’s not exactly elegant, but it works. And it means that Mac users with Chrome installed will have an easy way to play back FLAC files should they come across one. While there are plenty of apps that can handle FLAC — VLC being a popular one — no native macOS app is capable of it. Windows 10, on the other hand, includes native support.
That all said, it’s not like this is going to open the floodgates to FLAC becoming a widely beloved format. FLAC files are extremely large (I’m currently looking at a nearly six-minute song with a file size of 43MB) and generally provide sound quality benefits only detectable to a seasoned audiophile listening with high-quality gear. It’s great to have the option to listen to FLAC, but for most of us, a 320kbps Spotify stream will do just fine.