Google Chrome Blocks Autoplay Of Video With Sound

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

No more frantic dash to discover which browser tab is blaring out annoying video with sound as Chrome stops autoplay

The world’s most widely used web browser will no longer autoplay videos with sound – a source of irritation for many web surfing citizens.

The news comes after the browser has also banned video, pop-up and other forms of intrusive adverts in February this year.

Google confirmed last year that it is incorporating the adblocker into its Chrome web browser to help improve the user experience in an effort to combat annoying and intrusive online advertisements.

Autoplay preventation

The news of the autoplay block came during the release of Chrome 66, which included Site Isolation to improve Chrome’s security and mitigate the risks posed by Spectre.

The banning of autoplaying video will have some exceptions however on PCs. The feature is designed to stop any video that is set to autoplay with sound from websites where the video is not the primary purpose.

However video that plays without audio, or that a user has tapped or clicked on, will still play.

On the mobile side, the Chrome browser will allow for the autoplaying of videos on those sites that have been added as a bookmark to the home screen.

On the desktop, websites that a user frequently actively watches video on will be allowed to autoplay videos with sound, as ranked by Google new Media Engagement Index (MEI).

User irritation

The feature comes as Google seeks to lessen the often intense irritation caused when a user is confronted by unexpected media playback.

This can be especially annoying if the user is outside his or her home network, and the video gobbles up pricey data allowance on mobile devices.

However, Google recognises that there needs to a balance here between users accessing their favourite videos on YouTube or Netflix for example.

Google’s Chrome browser is used by at least 57 percent of surfers in March, according data from StatCounter.

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