A new experimental, and may I dare say, a bit creepy Chrome Extension called FacePause pauses a YouTube video when you look away from the screen.  It does this by utilizing an API called FaceDetector that has been available in Chrome since version 56.

Created by Mattias Hemmingsson, FacePause is an experiment to see if he could get the API to control YouTube video playback for when "you look away or going for a sandwich". To demonstrate how the extension works, Hemmingsson created a video showing the extension in action.

BleepingComputer had reached out to Hemmingsson for comments regarding why he created this extension and whether it was easy to do.

"Just for fun," Hemmingsson told BleepingComputer. "have always been interested in tech which does not need any user interactions. so when I found out chrome had this new API, I knew I needed to do something with it."

"It was quite easy," explained Hemmingsson when asked how easy it was to make the extension. "The API is very straight forward, send it an image and it gives you a reply if there are face/s in the image."

For those who are concerned or a bit creeped out about your browser recognizing your face and performing actions based on it, the FaceDetector API is currently an experimental feature and has to be enabled before it can be used. Even with the feature on, Chrome wont use your web cam without getting permission from you.

Unfortunately, the API was not able to detect my face or my two kids, but maybe you will have better luck?

To test out the FacePause extension simply follow these steps:

  1. Enter chrome://flags#enable-experimental-web-platform-features into Chrome's address bar and set "Experimental Web Platform features" to "Enabled". When prompted, click on the Relaunch Now button to restart the browser with this feature enabled.


  2. Now go to the Chrome Web Store and install the FacePause extension.
  3. Plug in a web cam.
  4. After you install the extension, go to YouTube and start playing a video. You should now see a small box at the bottom right of the screen that states "Face Play Disabled" and a toggle switch. Toggle it to the right so it's green.


  5. Now Chrome should ask for permission to use your web cam, which you should give.


  6. A small window will appear that states detecting face. For me the face detection did not work, but your mileage may vary. If it successfully detects your face, your face will have a green rectangular box drawn around it.
  7. You should then be able to look away from the video to pause a running YouTube video.

Were you able to get this extension to work?

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