Google Chrome will resume blocking web audio in October



Google’s Chrome browser logo

Stephen Shankland / CNET

Google rolled back a Chrome feature that blocked audio from autoplaying on some websites, but the feature will be back in October.

Blocking autoplay, intended to make the web more enjoyable and curb push websites, also had the unintended side effect of crippling many web games in Chrome. Chrome has therefore temporarily disabled the audio blocking from autoplay, but not the video blocking from autoplay which also happened recently with Chrome 66.

Wednesday, Announcing Chrome Developer Account on Twitter an update to the policy that auto-play audio blocking will return with Chrome 70 in October.

It’s a sign that Google, without being oblivious to recent issues, is sticking to its canons in trying to improve the web as a whole. It is not alone. Other browsers, including Mozilla’s Firefox, Brave from Brave Software, and Apple’s Safari, become more assertive, sometimes blocking video, audio, ads, and behavioral tracking software on the web.

Google has pointed to people's dissatisfaction with automatic media playback as a rationale for its decision to stop it in some cases.

Google has pointed to people’s dissatisfaction with automatic media playback as a rationale for its decision to stop it in some cases.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET

Chrome sets autoplay blocking based on a predefined list of 1,000 sites, but it customizes that list based on what you’re actually doing in Chrome. Google also gives advice to web developers on how to get people to turn on audio: “A cool way to engage users [involves] using mute autoplay and [letting] they chose to turn the sound back on, “said François Beaufort, a member of the Chrome team.” Some websites are already doing this effectively, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. “

It’s not clear what changes Google is making to Chrome itself. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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