Google Chrome will resume blocking web audio in October
Enjoy playing online games that have sound? Brace yourself.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
backtracked from a
feature that blocked autoplaying audio on some websites, but the feature will be back in October.
The autoplay blocking, intended to make the web a more pleasant place and to rein in push websites, also had the unintended side effect of crippling lots of web-based games in Chrome. So Chrome temporarily disabled autoplay audio blocking -- though not the autoplay video blocking that also recently arrived with Chrome 66.
It's a sign that Google, while not unmoved by the recent problems, is sticking to its guns about trying to improve the web overall. It's not alone. Other browsers including Mozilla's Firefox, Brave Software's Brave and
Safari, are becoming more assertive by sometimes blocking video, audio, ads and behavior-tracking software on the web.
Chrome sets autoplay blocking based on a prebuilt list of 1,000 sites, but it personalizes that list according to what you actually do in Chrome. Google also gives advice to web developers about how to get people to enable audio: "One cool way to engage users [involves] using muted autoplay and [letting] them chose to unmute," Chrome Team member François Beaufort said. "Some websites already do this effectively, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube."
It's not clear what changes if any Google is making to Chrome itself. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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