Chrome is to block automatic play of videos with sound unless the user has indicated they are interested in such clips.
While many will see such a move as a good thing in itself, Google is also promoting it as a way to make website display more consistent between desktop computers and mobile devices where autoplay is often blocked to stop unexpected data use.
Once the update is in place, videos will only autoplay in Chrome (regardless of the page’s instructions) in four circumstances:
- The video has no sound.
- The user has already clicked or tapped somewhere on the site during the current browsing session.
- The user has added the site to the home screen of their mobile device.
- The user has frequently played media on the site in their desktop browser.
It’s not a perfect fix as it does mean clips will still autoplay if you are browsing around a particular site and suddenly come across a page with an autoplay video. However, it does remove the annoyance of following a link to a site only to find it’s one that blasts out video sound.
While these changes won’t take effect until Chrome 64, planned for general release in January, there’ll be some relief with the earlier Chrome 63. That will include the option to switch off autoplay for a specific site permanently.