Autoplaying videos are among the most annoying web trends of recent years, bombarding you with unsolicited content when you least expect it. Chrome 63 (currently on the dev and canary channels) on desktop recently gave users the ability to mute certain websites permanently, and there's a special toggle in the works so you can ensure they stay quiet. In the upcoming Chrome 64, both on mobile and desktop, Google is introducing even stricter conditions that should stop unwanted audio from ever playing automatically.

The new rules, which should come into force in January 2018, will only allow a video to play automatically if certain conditions are met:

  • The content is muted, or does not include any audio (video only)
  • The user tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session
  • On mobile, if the site has been added to the Home Screen by the user
  • On desktop, if the user has frequently played media on the site, according to the Media Engagement Index

With these changes, Google is presenting a unified autoplay front across mobile and desktop which you can read more about in this presentation.

This will be music to the ears of anyone who's ever been annoyed by autoplaying content, but beware as there are still some caveats to this good news. While this should solve the issue of unwanted sounds playing, muted videos will still pass through the net and play without permission, and this will still affect data and battery levels. Even so, Chrome 64 will still vastly improve upon the current situation. Keep up the good work, Chromium team.