Autoplaying videos are one of the most divisive features on the web today, as websites blare out content regardless of your wishes. Now, it seems like the Google Play Store will be offering this functionality.
Google noted on its Play Console Help portal (h/t: XDA-Developers) that it will be enabling autoplaying videos on the Google Play Store from September 2019. The firm reasons that autoplaying videos will “help more users discover your content at a glance.”
The company is also calling on developers to disable monetization for any video clips featured on the Play Store by November 1. Monetized videos often play ads first, so Google is trying to avoid this issue on the Play Store.
What are the benefits and downsides?
Autoplaying video clips are pretty polarizing already, with Google perhaps rightfully saying it helps with discoverability. After all, you should have a better idea of what a game is all about when watching a video clip compared to checking a few screens. Google will also theoretically see an increase in YouTube viewing statistics as a result of this move.
But autoplaying clips can be incredibly annoying due to the sound suddenly blaring out from a website. In fact, you can argue that autoplaying content is one of the main reasons why many desktop browsers now have an icon to quickly show you which tab is playing audio content.
Another major concern with autoplaying videos on the Google Play Store is data usage. There are loads of countries with expensive mobile data rates, and autoplaying content will certainly eat into users’ meager data allocations.
We’ve asked Google about the possibility of disabling autoplaying videos on the Play Store (or introducing a toggle to autoplay via Wi-Fi only). We’ll update the article as soon as they get back to us with answers.