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Chrome’s new autoplay video blocker doesn’t really work, but this free extension does

Published Apr 19th, 2018 10:06AM EDT
Chrome: Block autoplay video

When Google announced that the next Chrome update would introduce a feature that would block autoplay video, the internet was thrilled. Now that pop-ups are mostly a thing of the past, there’s nothing more annoying than loading up a site and being forced to watch (and listen) to a video which may or may not even be related to the article.

Google claimed that Chrome 66 would stop videos with sound from autoplaying, but after updating to the latest official build of Chrome, the feature doesn’t appear to be working quite as well as advertised. In addition to reports from other publications around the internet, my own colleagues have discovered that some videos are still playing automatically, sound included, even after ensuring that the latest version of Chrome has been installed.

This phenomenon can at least partially be explained by the guidelines that Google put in place for the new feature. If you click or tap on a site or have previously shown an interest in media on that site, Chrome won’t apply the autoplay ban to the site in question. This definitely sounds sensible, but are there any sites where you actually want videos to begin playing (and following you around the page) without any input on your part?

If so, you’re in luck, as that’s how the feature has been built. If not, you have a few options, but these are the best two we’ve stumbled upon so far. First, you can utilize a separate feature that Google introduced in Chrome 64 and mute a site altogether. This will carry between sessions, so once you mute a site, you’re done.

You can also install this extension from the Chrome Web Store which disables HTML5 video and audio from playing on its own. Sadly, it is unmaintained and could become obsolete at any time. But if you’re just desperate for a catch-all solution and aren’t satisfied with Chrome 66, you might want to give it a try.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.