Google Chrome started blocking audio and video that automatically played on certain wesbites, with the launch of the Google Chrome 66 for desktops. Now, the company has modified the policy it uses to block unwanted autoplays, trying to improve the experience users have on sites they want to autoplay media. Chrome for desktop will now learn preferences of users over time to determine which sites they visit with videos that play when the pages load.
A large number of Chrome users, Google’s product manager John Pallett claims, use the browser as a TV, phone, radio, and jukebox for the “wide range of media experiences the Web has to offer.” When users open certain sites, Google has made it easier for them to play media files. Instead of hitting the ‘Play’ button every time, Chrome will automatically start playing videos. However, there could be many sites that play sounds that the users may not be expecting and that can be annoying. Google says that people usually pause, mute, or close such tabs within six seconds. In a move to stop them, Chrome has introduced the new feature that aims to only “block unwanted autoplays”.
Chrome is able to achieve this by “learning your preferences.” If a user doesn’t have browsing history on a particular browser instance, Chrome by default will allow autoplay for over 1,000 sites where the highest percentage of visitors play media with sound. Thereafter, Chrome learns from users’ browsing history and changes the whitelisted sites. It enables autoplay on sites where users play media with sound during most of their visits. Also, it disables it on sites where they don’t. This way, Chrome is able to provide individual users a “personalised and predictable browsing experience.”
Google says that initially, users may have to click ‘play’ more often, as the new policy is meant to blocks about half of the unwanted autoplays. Notably, the new feature is enabled in the latest version of Chrome and you can update it right now.
To recall, in January this year, Google launched the Chrome version 64, where it allowed users to mute audio on a site-by-site basis. Adding to that experience, the search giant later added a new feature that let Chrome 66 automatically mute content unless the user frequently played media on a specific site, based on Media Engagement Index, or if a site has been added to the Home screen on a smartphone.