Chrome 66 kills audible autoplaying content by default

google chrome 66 geralt pixabay

Chrome 66 now blocks autoplaying content with sound by default.

The new version of Google’s web browser was granted stable status this morning and brings a host of changes and tweaks for developers and users alike.

But the autoplay filter addition, initially scheduled for Chrome 64’s release in January, is the most relevant for casual netizens.

According to Google Chrome’s autoplay policies, muted content will automatically load and play, but content with sound will not, unless certain conditions are met.

“As announced earlier autoplay is now allowed only when either the media won’t play sound, after the user clicks or taps on the site, or (on desktop) if the user has previously shown an interest in media on the site,” Google explains in its Chromium blog.

“This will reduce unexpected video playbacks with sound when first opening a web page.”

How does Google know you’ve “previously shown an interest” in a site’s content? It stores said data in the browser, and calculates your relationship with given websites. This Google calls the Media Engagement Index.

“The MEI measures an individual’s propensity to consume media on a site. Chrome’s current approach is a ratio of visits to significant media playback events per origin,” developer Francois Beaufort writes in the Google Developers forum.

But does it work? Well, kind of.

We’ve tested Chrome 66 with a number of sites known for annoying autoplaying content, and muted videos did load.

Interestingly, content from Twitch — which loads with audio on — did not automatically play. I was forced to hit play even though I have regularly interacted with the site in the past. And no, I’ve not cleared my browser data prior either.

Venturebeat also noted that the feature was particularly buggy — ironically — with YouTube videos.

Nevertheless, the update is available on Linux, MacOS and Windows at the time of writing.

Feature image: geralt via Pixabay (CC0)

Andy Walker, former editor


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