One of our biggest pet peeves has to be the ability for websites to unexpectedly auto-play videos and other content (here’s looking at you, CNN). We’ve long had the ability to see which tab is the offender, but Chrome 66 brings another solution.
The updated browser launched yesterday and the desktop version now mutes auto-playing videos by default, VentureBeat notes.
We briefly tried out the feature, finding CNN and International Business Times to auto-play while Fox News didn’t. Moving to video websites, YouTube, DailyMotion, and Vimeo all seemed to play fine. It would be strange if these clips didn’t play automatically, right?
VentureBeat notes that any discrepancies might be down to Chrome’s Media Engagement Index (MEI), which calculates your affinity for consuming content on various websites. The index, accessible by visiting chrome://media-engagement from your Chrome browser, uses several factors to rank your favored websites such as videos playing for longer than seven seconds, whether it’s the active tab and video size.
In other words, if you actually visit specific websites regularly and watch their videos, then it should be business as usual.
Mac and iOS users also receive an additional feature in Chrome 66, allowing users to easily export their website login data if they’d like to switch browsers.
The Chrome 66 update is just the latest salvo in the war against auto-playing content. Back in 2015, Chrome let users mute individual tabs. December 2017 saw Google implement the ability to mute entire websites, as well as an improved popup blocker. This latest update to auto-playing videos however, has been coming for a while, initially being promised for Chrome 64 in January 2018.