Google Delays Silencing Video Ads In Chrome

Cristina Cross
May 17, 2018

Google has partially rolled back a change made in Chrome 66 that prevented audio from playing in some web-based games.

While the move should restore sound to affected sites for now, there are still unhappy developers out there. Pallett is advising developers to update their code based on Google's recommendations before that time.

The original muting of the nuisance videos within Chrome was created to remove one of the annoyances that might have pushed users to install adblocking or other software, something Google wants to avoid as advertising is the primary source of the company's revenue.

These new autoplay rules are aimed at strictly defining when media can automatically start.

It's important to note that the change only applies to the Web Audio API.

Chrome begins with a list of more than a thousand sites where Google found that the browser's users typically played audio or video with sound.

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Other developers have suggested methods for stopping auto-playing audio that would be less disruptive to legacy interactive content, such as automatically muting new tabs or warning the user and offering options when a page first attempts to play audio.

"We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code", said Google Chrome product manager John Pallett, in a comment on the issue page. He added that the change wouldn't stop Chrome from silencing most websites' autoplay videos and audio.

Pallett urged developers to prepare for Chrome 70 by following its autoplay instructions for the Web Audio API. This was after Google acknowledged the complaints from various web-users related to the auto-play ads which were not only bothering a user but also use up the hardware resources along with consuming a huge amount of data.

Google is rolling back part of the auto mute feature it introduced with Chrome 66 in April.

A Chrome update that tried to kill off autoplaying video content on websites had an unpleasant side-effect: it broke a wide range of apps and games, according to reports from users and developers.

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