Google announced in a blog post on Thursday that its Chrome browser will get autoplay blocking features starting January 2018. The changes will come with Chrome 64, while Chrome 63 will bring site muting options to the online experience of millions this October.
The tech giant has long been asked to address the issue of auto playing media online, as it gets more and more common across different sites and platforms. News sites and social networks particularly abuse of this attention-catching measure, but most of them already implement their muting controls.
Other browsers like Apple’s Safari allow users greater control over the media that plays on websites. However, Google’s approach is focused on unifying experiences across desktop and mobile users so that settings and preferences remain the same and available on whichever device they are using.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 15, 2017
Changes you make will persist over mobile and desktop
If there is one thing Google has paid attention to is the user experience. Unifying criteria across platforms is important, for which proprietary mobile apps and services translate the options that you choose from desktop to mobile and vice versa.
Things will remain the same with Chrome 63 and 64 and the introduction of new features. Site muting, the first one to debut this October, will let users disable audio playback completely and tweak some settings to their likely. Changes will stay applied regardless of which device you use Chrome in.
Muting sites will be as easy as clicking on the security info tab that shows next to the URL address, which in turn makes an information menu drop. In this menu, users currently find an assortment of options they can toggle, and next month they will be able to block sound from playing.
Autoplay blocking, on the other hand, will come in January and won’t be as straightforward as it seems. Videos and media will continue to autoplay by default if they mute sound or if the user has explicitly expressed interest in the content. Google judges this through website interactions in the form of clicks.
Users will continue to suffer from autoplaying media on mobile
The news is amazing for users who usually browse from the desktop since one of the most common hubs where people spend time is social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook; both of which feature autoplaying videos and media.
On mobile, however, things are not as merry. Users remain at the mercy of developers and depend on the settings of each social media app to turn autoplay on and off. Considering this type of videos is another source of ad revenue, there is little hope for prioritizing user experience.