Chrome 64's Unified Autoplay Stops Unwanted Sounds

Chrome is going to be graduating to version 64 in the development channel soon, and that update will bring with it a new feature called Unified Autoplay, which seeks, first and foremost, to stop unwanted sound from autoplaying video content like ads. The new feature blocks autoplaying of any videos with audio, with a few exceptions based on certain criteria. If a user typically plays content with sound on a certain page, that page can autoplay videos with sound. If a user adds a site to their home screen on mobile, that site will be able to autoplay videos with sound across platforms. Lastly, if the user taps or clicks on any part of a web page with an autoplaying, sound-laden video, it will be enabled. Besides that, only silent videos can autoplay. On the other side of the coin, the update will remove the option to block autoplay altogether, though autoplay blocking will still be a part of the data saver mode on certain mobile versions of Chrome.

Taken together, these changes mean that users will no longer be able to escape the growing tide of autoplay videos out there without compromising their browsing experience by activating data saver mode. Users who want to discreetly visit pages that they normally frequent to watch videos will need to be mindful to turn their media volume down on mobile, and turn their master volume down on desktop, or simply silence Chrome. Still, users should no longer have to worry about loud video ads interrupting their browsing session, or content that they're not interested in asserting itself on the air.

On a related note, Chrome version 63 will bring a new feature that will allow users to mute audio for certain sites altogether. This means that the user will have to open a video and purposefully unmute it in order for it to play with sound. These changes are aimed at addressing pain points in the user experience, and encouraging content creators and web developers to stop using autoplay indiscriminately, and instead use it when it would create a better user experience. Coincidentally, this comes not long after Google put an ad blocker into certain versions of Chrome Canary that targets autoplaying video ads with sound, among other "intrusive" types of advertising.

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