Google is taking another step towards making the web browsing experience a more pleasant one, as it pertains to videos that annoyingly fire up automatically on some sites. Earmarked for a future build of its Chrome browser is the disabling of autoplay for videos that are accompanied by sound, Google announced in Chromium blog post. The idea is to make "autoplay more consistent with user expectations" while giving users more control over audio.
The feature update will roll out with Chrome 64. Websites will still be allowed to automatically play videos, but only if the media is not accompanied by sound, of if 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," Google says.
Google had previously urged developers to use autoplay sparingly, noting that it even though it can be a powerful engagement tool, it can also annoy users when sound is unexpectedly piped through their system. The company also asked website owners to consider muting content and letting users unmute when and if they are interested in the video. Apparently not enough site owners took those suggestions to heart, so Google is taking action.
Since not all Chrome users have the same preferences for autoplay media, Google is adding an option to Chrome 63 to allow user to completely disable audio for individual sites. The site muting option will persist between browsing sessions, Google says.
This is the latest move to combat a growing trend of unexpected and often unwanted sound coming from websites. One of the previous steps Google took was to flag the tab of an offending website with a speaker icon. More recently it started experimenting with a mute button. However, blocking videos that play automatically with sound will finally present a solution that requires little to no interaction by the user.