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Google rolls back Chrome update breaking web games

Chrome 66 temporarily removes autoplay policy.

Google said Tuesday it's updated its Chrome browser to temporarily remove a recent change that broke the audio on several web-based games.

By automatically pausing Web Audio objects when a webpage is launched, the update earlier this month was intended to help silence ads that seemingly begin barking at you when you visit some sites. But the feature reportedly also silenced the audio in web-based games.

To correct that, Google said Tuesday it's temporarily removing the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API from Chrome 66. The move was announced in a tweet by Myles Borins, a developer advocate at Google.

The autoplay blocking is an example of how browsers are getting more assertive on behalf of users faced with pushy websites. The result is a web that should be less annoying to most users -- but also one where advertising-funded sites have a harder time with their businesses.

Not long after web-based game developers began complaining about broken audio in their products, a Chrome product manager said his team was processing the feedback and looking for solutions.

"The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers, but in this case we didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers," John Pallett wrote in a developer forum on the bug.

With the release of Chrome 66 in April, Google clamped down on lots of websites that tried to play video and audio automatically, but the browser doesn't always block autoplay.

Chrome begins with a list of more than a thousand sites where Google found that the browser's users typically played audio or video with sound. Then, as you browse the web, Chrome updates that list as it learns where you play media and where you don't.

Google didn't immediate respond to a request for comment.

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