Tech & The Web

Google Chrome to Tackle Autoplay Videos

If you browse as I do, with multiple browser tabs open at the same time, one of your biggest frustrations surely must be autoplay videos.

I was browsing the other day, doing a bit of online research for a post I was writing. All of a sudden, autoplay videos kicked in: two different videos began playing on the same website at the same time.

And it seemed like it was at least a minute after I’d opened the website that the autoplay videos began.

It’s one thing to go to a web page where a text is accompanied by a matching video report that is set to autoplay. (I’m not wild about that, either, to be honest, but I’ve managed to get used to it.)

But when autoplay videos — particularly random advertisements — begin popping on with no warning and you have to search through tabs to figure out where it’s coming from, it’s enough to make you want to rip the DSL line right out of the wall.

A lot of people browse (whether they’re supposed to or not) while at work. An autoplay video can cause particular problems for them unless they use headphones to keep nosey cubicle neighbors from knowing what they are and aren’t up to while they’re on the clock.

In January, Google Chrome plans to take action.

A post in Google’s Chromium Blog states that beginning in January, the browser will set out to make autoplay videos “consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio.”

The post cites “unexpected media playback” as one of the most frequent user concerns. That playback “can use data, consume power and make unwanted noise while browsing,” the post states.

So Version 63 of Chrome will give its users the ability to completely mute individual sites.

And Version 64 will be allowed only when the media is silent or the user has “indicated an interest in the media,” which would include either having played media on that site in the past or when the user clicks somewhere on the site.

If I read that correctly, when I’m browsing and click a link to visit a page for the first time that happens to have those annoying videos, they won’t automatically trigger unless I click on the site in addition to simply opening the page itself.

I can imagine some site owners will be upset with this because it could reduce the number of immediate ad impressions, thereby costing them some ad revenue.

But it might also prompt them to place those ads (and choose the kind of ads they allow) more responsibly so that they’re treating their audience the way they wish to be treated.

Do you hate autoplay videos or have you just gotten used to them by now?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.