Google Chrome 64 will limit autoplay videos early next year


— 9:21 AM on September 15, 2017

Online video can be great. Netflix's customer base is constantly growing and people watch over a billion hours of Youtube videos every day. Everything good brings something bad, though, and the dark side of streaming video is annoying undesired autoplay video ads. Google is working to add features to future versions of Chrome to limit automatic video playback to situations where the video doesn't play audio or when the user has chosen to play video from a particular website in the past. The Chromium blog says those features are coming to Chrome 64, due for release in late January or early February next year.

Chrome will allow automatic video playback if any of four conditions are met:

  • The video is muted or does not have any sound.
  • The user clicked or tapped something on the site in the current browsing session.
  • The user has frequently played media on a site on a desktop browser, according to Google's Media Engagement Index.
  • The site has been added to the home screen on a mobile device.

Google says this policy change is part of an effort to reduce bandwidth usage and device power utilization, as well as minimize unwanted noise. The changes will also let users have greater control over video playback, enable content providers to use autoplay without complicated workarounds, and make the behavior of desktop and mobile browsers more consistent.

Misuse of advertising techniques is nothing new on the internet, and abusers will surely find a way to wiggle out of the new restrictions in Chrome. The move comes in the wake of Google's previous announcement that it will implement limited ad-blocking features into Chrome early next year. The changes to automatic video playback policy are on track to come online with Chrome 64, which is expected to be marked as stable at the end of January 2018.

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