Google Chrome 64 will limit autoplay videos early next year

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.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 2 years ago

    If it hurts CNN and CNet, rock on.

    • jensend
    • 2 years ago

    I really don’t want autoplay anything ever period. I can interact with a play button if I want music or video or animation playing.

    Here’s the trend I’m seeing on many websites these days: “we’re going to autoplay this obnoxious video you didn’t want to see, but before you can watch that, first we’re going to play a minute-long loud advertisement!!”

      • smilingcrow
      • 2 years ago

      And request you complete a survey about 10 seconds after you’ve landed on a site.

    • moog
    • 2 years ago

    Is this also intended to stop auto playing Facebook vids?

    That would definitely put a stake through Facebook’s heart.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Facebook does make that very hard to turn off, but once I found the setting I had a little celebration.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Autoplay [i<]anything[/i<] is grounds for an immediate blacklisting of that offending website or advertiser. I am judicious and brutal with adblock and redirect blockers because there is infinite content out there on the web with unintrusive advertising and you shouldn't have to eat **** whilst you browse. I've accidentally blacklisted TR once in the past but it turns out that they hate autoplay as much as the next person and those few incidents with irresponsible advertisers haven't been repeated since.

      • Wonders
      • 2 years ago

      I realize this isn’t exactly what you’re talking about, but food for thought: Consider that tasteful, low-bitrate HTML5 looping video backgrounds uses the same underlying autoplay attribute as those ads that we hate. These limited-autoplay video elements consume less bandwidth than animated GIFs and provide a number of enhancements to user experience over GIFs. Apparently the history is that recently browsers started favoring limited-autoplay video elements, in response to widespread overuse of GIFs in the web design community. Allowing limited autoplay was in part intended to save mobile device battery life by helping stem the tide of less-efficient GIFs.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        I think you’re thinking of Flash ads, because GIFs can’t make noise. Flash has been the target, and I’m thankful to see SOMEBODY (even if it IS the ad giant Google) doing something to limit the annoyance of loud video ads.

        I’m also looking forward to Apple’s policy of invalidating cookies for use on third party sites after 24 hours.

    • UberGerbil
    • 2 years ago

    While this algorithm will probably work reasonably well for most people, I’d rather have a white list. I can count on one hand the domains from which I actually want to receive video. The rest… well, right now I have a black list (my hosts file is getting ever longer).

    • Growler
    • 2 years ago

    Now that Chrome doesn’t play Flash, HTML5 video is the bane of my browsing. Fortunately, plugins exist that keep the annoyance to a minimum. Now we just need a way to keep those stupid video boxes from popping up in the bottom corner of the screen.

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      Safari already doesn’t autoplay.

    • gmskking
    • 2 years ago

    This is why I keep my PC muted at work. 🙂

    • drfish
    • 2 years ago

    Not exactly the same thing, but I started using [url=https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/automute/kjcdcbhfpjkcjinohfaaihpcmpnpmpie?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher-info-dialog<]AutoMute[/url<] recently and it's simple and effective for [i<]half[/i<] of the auto-playing video problem.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    Surprised they didn’t release a service called Chrome Red, where your web browser will play every video on every tab at max volume unless you pay a subscription fee of $9.99 a month.

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      Google has a good track record of not asking for money for use of their stuff.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        call me cynical, but that’s because we the user are the product being sold to people looking for advertising space.

      • VincentHanna
      • 2 years ago

      Really? You’re butthurt by Youtube Red?

      That’s pretty sad.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 2 years ago

    Thank God!

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