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Better pop-up blocking and video autoplay mute coming to Chrome

And you can get these features in the latest desktop beta version right now!

Published onDecember 18, 2017

Google Chrome, Inbox by Gmail, and Pocket Casts icons on an HTC10.
  • The Chrome browser version 64 beta has been released for desktop with features targetting problematic web ads
  • These features include a better pop-up blocker and a mute function for auto-playing video
  • The beta can be downloaded now but the features should arrive to the regular version of Chrome in the coming weeks

Ad banners, pop-ups and auto-playing videos might be a necessary part of the online world, but when they’re misused, they can be especially frustrating for users. Google says these are one of the most common user complaints about Chrome for desktop relates to unwanted ad content, and it looks like it’s taking aim at this in the next iteration.

The beta version of Chrome 64 for desktop landed only a few days ago, discussed over on the Chromium Blog. and it introduces some significant changes, with possibly the biggest of these coming in the form of an improved pop-up blocker.

With this, Google wants to quash annoying features like redirects disguised as “play buttons” and “close” buttons that open additional windows. Google says that Chrome will prevent these “abusive experiences” with version 64, but its effectiveness remains to be seen: I suspect it could be mighty difficult to stop this unwanted behavior happening in all cases.

You can now force-enable a dark theme for sites in Chrome: Here's how to do it

It’s something worth pursuing all the same, and another feature of Chrome 64 sure to please users is an auto-mute option for auto-playing video.

In the site settings menu of Chrome 64 — where you can also disable or enable things like Javascript and Flash (it’s accessed in the green lock area next to the URL in Chrome) — you will find an option to mute videos on websites by default. You will be required to block this on a per website basis, however, you can’t just apply it to all websites, which I think makes less sense than having it automatic for all websites and letting users decide the exceptions.

But I shan’t complain, because, rather than just being an annoyance, I sometimes find those videos absolutely terrifying; usually, if I’ve been sitting in silence with headphones on for a while and then a car ad screeches into my ears. Having such a mute option at all is a blessing.

Meanwhile, other additions coming in the update include HDR support for those in HDR mode on Windows 10 and Split View multitasking features in tablet mode.

The Chrome 64 beta is available now (though not for Android just yet, which is still at beta 63) and you can install it here. The features mentioned above should be hitting regular version of Chrome in the coming weeks.

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