Autoplaying video or audio on the web can be convenient at times and very frustrating at others. To improve the experience, upcoming versions of Google Chrome will make “autoplay more consistent with user expectations” and give more controls for audio.

In a blog post today, the Chromium team encapsulated the pros and cons of the feature found on services like YouTube and essentially every other streaming service:

“Users watch and listen to a lot of media, and autoplay can make it faster and easier to consume on the web. However, one of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing.”

The effort begins in version 64, currently in the Canary channel, with Chrome enforcing a new policy on when media can and cannot automatically play. Content that doesn’t play sound or media where users have “indicated an interest” will be allowed to autoplay.

“This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users’ wishes when they don’t. These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behavior, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.”

However, we will see more controls for disabling audio beginning in Chrome 63. This version will feature a new setting to completely mute audio for individual sites.

For publishers, Google has an autoplay roadmap and hopes that these changes will give users more control over playback, while “making it easier for publishers to implement autoplay.”

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: