When Google Chrome finally added a speaker symbol to open tabs that were playing music or other types of audio, the Internet rejoiced. But as great as this feature was, it didn’t solve all of our Chrome frustrations.
If you happen to be one of those people who have multiple tabs and windows open when browsing the web, sometimes searching for that lone and mysterious tab with the speaker icon can itself be frustrating. Thankfully, Google has now come up with a way to solve this nuisance once and for all.
In future iterations of Google Chrome, open tabs will not begin playing any type of audio unless said tab is active and in the foreground. All the better, this will even be the case when video on a website is set to autoplay.
News of the upcoming change was first highlighted on Chrome engineer Fracois Beaufort’s Google+ page:
Google Chrome will now defer playback of autoplay media until the tab is foregrounded in the latest Dev Channel. This means no more “Where’s that sound coming from?” moments when an ad for instance decides to autoplay in a tab you’ve specifically opened in the background.
Resources will still be preloaded if indicated but Chrome will delay the start of playback until you actually visit the tab.
This cool feature prevents obviously user annoyance but also conserves power as Chrome will only consume power once the tab is foregrounded.
This is a huge step forward in browsing usability, and like any great innovation, it seems bizarrely obvious in hindsight.
As to when we’ll finally be able to start enjoying a more pleasurable browsing experience, expect the aforementioned feature to be ready for wide release sometime between October and mid-November.