Google Chrome to get indicators for noisy tabs

The latest build of Chrome Canary — Google's version of the browser for developers — shows an exciting new feature that's possibly on the way for everyone.

The latest build of Chrome Canary — Google's version of the browser for developers — shows an exciting new feature that's possibly on the way for everyone.

(Credit: Google)

If you've spent time on the internet, you will have come across that mightiest bugbear of tabbed browsing: videos or audio advertisements that autoplay, leaving you scrambling through your tabs in increasing frustration, muttering, "Where is it? Where is it?!"

It's something that would seem to have an easy fix: a little icon displayed on the tab to let you know at a glance which ones are playing sounds at any given time. The only reason we can think that it hasn't been implemented already is that perhaps it isn't as simple as it sounds.

However, it may finally be coming to Google Chrome, The Next Web reported.

First, the new feature was spotted by François Beaufort (the maker of Chromium) in Chromium, which is maintained by the Google Chrome team and often where they will test new features.

The relevant piece of code is: "Basically a throbber animation that cycles over a number of frames on a bitmap. Currently only 6 frames, which is too little, but good enough for testing."

Interestingly, the code is also programmed to show the animated icon if the open page is recording sound, as well as if it is playing.

The Next Web also discovered that the feature has been implemented in Chrome Canary — Google's version of the browser for developers and early adopters — and works on flash sites, indicating support for plug-ins.

Google's reasons for implementing the feature aren't what we expected — that is, it is intended to indicate active tabs when system memory is low and keep them open — but you can bet we'll be using it for other purposes.

Watch Beaufort's video below to see what the test version looks like.

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