Google: We're having to hit pause on Chrome's audio autoplay block

Google Chrome with a gelato

That's not what Chrome's developers intended: the plan was to stop auto-playing vids from assaulting your ears and chewing bandwidth.

Google's Chrome team recently said that it has updated the mobile web browser to temporarily put on hold the autoplay policy for the apps, games, and RTC features using the Web Audio API.

We've updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API. This shouldn't affect most audio and videos (included in the audio and video HTML tags), which will continue to be auto-muted, but should ensure the accidentally affected web components are working correctly. Yet with an adjustment of such potentially high impact landing in Chrome 66, clearly more communication was needed.

That's not a very useful solution for developers who don't have access to the original code used to make legacy content, though, or those who can no longer update that code on the original servers hosting their work. "If you are honest in your claim that the side effects of the policy were unintended and unwanted, you should commit-in clear, straightforward language-to finding other alternatives which do not break vast swathes of cultural work that was developed and distributed on the open web".

As pointed out by the Chrome team, developers have been given the tools and methods to modify their media to circumvent the Autoplay policy. Developers and users, however, complained.

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"We are still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users, and we will post more detailed thoughts on that topic here later", Pallett added.

The issue is with the Web Audio API, says Google. Some requested user interface elements that would allow people to control how autoplay content is handled in Chrome, while others simply wanted their games to play their usual variety of music and in-game sounds.

Have you come across any such unintended consequences on Chrome?

"I believe Chrome could find a policy which accommodates developers while still protecting the principle users should explicitly authorize websites to play sound", developer Andi McClure writes in the Chromium thread.

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