Here’s a bit of irony to help carry you into the weekend: in a tweet posted on Friday morning, CNET alerted the site’s followers to some fantastic news. “Hurrah!” the tweet said. “[Google’s Chrome browser] will block autoplay videos from January.” What’s so ironic about that tweet, you ask? CNET is a great site, but every damn page of every damn article on the entire damn site autoplays a video when you load it. It’s infuriating, but readers won’t have to bear it for much longer. As noted in that wonderfully ironic tweet, Google has announced that an upcoming version of its wildly popular Chrome browser will block autoplay videos on webpages.
“Users watch and listen to a lot of media, and autoplay can make it faster and easier to consume on the web,” Google engineer Mounir Lamouri wrote in a post on the Chromium blog. “However, one of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing. To address this, Chrome will be making autoplay more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio.”
He continued, “Starting in Chrome 64, autoplay will be allowed when either the media won’t play sound, or the user has indicated an interest in the media. This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users’ wishes when they don’t. These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behavior, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.”
There’s a bit of tiptoeing in there since so many publishers use Google ads, and those same publishers often utilize autoplay videos as well. But the bottom line is that starting soon, you’ll never be startled again by one of those damn autoplay videos. Also of note, Lamouri says that Chrome 63 will include a new option to “completely disable audio for individual sites.”
According to Google’s release schedule for Chrome, the new Chrome 64 build is slated to be released to the public in January.