The Insider team at Microsoft has released yet another Insider build for the Fast Ring.
Build 15031 brings some new things – you can check them out here – but this one deserved a special mention. A Picture-in-Picture mode, built into Windows 10.
Microsoft is calling the feature ‘Compact Overlay’ – why? Who knows. It’s Picture-in-Picture in its most basic form.
Actually, in its most basic form, it would be a window that could always stay on top; Win32 apps – like Microsoft’s own Task Manager – can force themselves to be always on top. This functionality is missing from the UWP framework for obvious reasons.
Microsoft’s latest-and-greatest framework doesn’t offer apps the same amount of freedom that Win32 does; it’s a restricted platform that lets apps have access to only what they absolutely need.
Compact Overlay will bring back the ‘always on top’ window in some capacity; for the Insiders on Fast Ring, only two apps support the feature at the moment: Skype Preview, and the Movies & TV app.
In the Compact Overlay mode, the app will appear on top of every other app; a Skype video call could overlay an Excel spreadsheet, or an episode of Seinfeld could overlay your Reddit session.
The developers of these apps can also customize the overlay experience as they wish, meaning certain video controls can also be scaled and presented properly.
If you have used an Xbox One, the screenshot above will instantly remind you of the Snap Mode. It’s not quite the same thing but fulfills a similar purpose.
Interestingly, Snap Mode was removed from the Xbox One recently; Compact Overlay could be a replacement for it. After all, both the Xbox One and Windows 10 are now sharing features and frameworks.
That is pure speculation, however, if true, UWP apps on the Xbox One and Windows 10 will now have even deeper integration – yet another that works everywhere, across platforms.