Google is on a crusade to banish bad ads from the Internet. Some would argue that it’s a self-serving crusade meant to steer the industry towards its own brand of ads. It’s hard to argue, however, that Google is also addressing some of the biggest complaints surfers have with ads. With Chrome 66, now available on all platforms, the web browser finally delivers on the promise of blocking autoplaying videos and audio. That is, if they fall under criteria.
Autoplaying content really has no other purpose than to call your attention, even if that means irking the user. They have no consideration for users’ possibly limited data connection or users’ location or context. Who cares if some obnoxious audio or video starts playing in the middle of a public place. Advertisers definitely don’t.
Google promised that it would be cracking down on such ads back in January. But come Chrome version 64, that didn’t happen. Instead, Google offered an appetizer, allowing users to disable audio on a per-site basis, giving the user the chore of silencing offending sites.
This time, Google is doing it by default and autoplaying content won’t autoplay on Chrome 66. It’s not a blanket ban though. Content that has no audio or mutes audio by default will still play automatically. If the site has been pinned to the Android home screen or is a frequently played (“popular”) media site, the content will play regardless. In those cases, they will be less surprising or rude but might still eat up your mobile data allocation.