Autoplaying videos are the scourge of the internet sometimes. Not only are they incredibly annoying, but they also waste precious data allowance and battery life. Chrome on desktop is pretty good at stopping videos from autoplaying unless they’re muted, and in Chrome 64 for mobile Google will be introducing more consistent behavior that puts the user back in control.
The new rules will allow a video to play automatically if one of three conditions are met. 1) If the video is muted or contains no audio. 2) If the user “has indicated an interest in the media.” 3) If the site has been added to the home screen by the user. That second one sounds a little vague, so to be clear, it means if you tap somewhere on the page. With these changes, Google is presenting a unified autoplay front across mobile and desktop, which you can read more about in this presentation.
Chrome 63, which can be tried in the Dev or Canary channels, already allows us to mute certain websites permanently with a toggle, but we’ll take all the help we can get in the fight against annoying autoplaying videos and sounds. It should become much easier to keep autoplay turned on for sites we visit often and genuinely benefit from while keeping it off on those sites where it’s a nuisance. Keep up the good work, Chromium team.