Chrome 66 Autoplay Changes Partially Rolled Back

Joanna Estrada
May 16, 2018

Google pleased users of the world's most popular web browser last month with the release of Chrome 66, which included a feature that blocked the autoplaying of videos with sound. This change does not affect most media playback on the web, as the autoplay policy will remain in effect for video and audio .

"The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers", product manager John Pallett wrote on the Chrome developer forum. They build on previous work that lets users mute audio in Chrome on a site-by-site basis. As users continue browsing the web, Chrome updates that list as it learns where you play media and where you don't.

The original muting of the nuisance videos within Chrome was created to remove one of the annoyances that might have pushed users to install adblocking or other software, something Google wants to avoid as advertising is the primary source of the company's revenue.

The update was rolled out in April with the goal of blocking loud media content that is being played automatically on some websites.

Google's Chrome team recently said that it has updated the mobile web browser to temporarily put on hold the autoplay policy for the apps, games, and RTC features using the Web Audio API. This is because their click-to-play approach generally does not resume a Javascript audio interface - something most games never needed to do until Chrome chose to press the mute button.

While this feature certainly seemed like a boon, some users began noting that it's working a bittoowell. The company said it plans to reintroduce the change with Chrome 70, which is set to debut in October, and that developers should have worked around it by then.

Ultimately, the new policy will block around 50 percent of autoplay videos that you want nothing to do with, which should cut down on the noisiness of your browser quite significantly. You just have to right click on your website tab and select "mute site" in order to never hear anything from that particular page again. For that reason, the current Chrome version 66 will no longer automatically mute Web Audio objects.

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