We’ve all been there: you’re exploring the vast interwebs, opening tabs rapid fire like the middle-clickin’ master you are. Suddenly one of the zillion tabs you’ve got open in the background starts autoplaying some terrible ad — now your laptop is yelling to your entire office about man part pills or free ipads or something.
Google wants to end this.
Last year, Google introduced a feature that tells you which tab is making noise. Now they’re taking it one step further.
In a post on Google+, Chromium evangelist François Beaufort laid out an upcoming change that should pop up in Chrome pretty soon: autoplay media will no longer autoplay unless you’re looking at the tab.
If you open a new tab and there’s a video set to autoplay, it’ll load — it just won’t actually start playing until you focus on that tab. It’s not the outright ban on autoplaying media that some have called for (that’s hard to do without messing with the experience on sites like YouTube) but it should mean a bit less panicked tab closing moving forward.
(One clever thing to note: according to the issue tracker on the new feature, once a tab has been given focus, it gets permission to autoplay media until it’s closed. This is so pages with playlist functionality don’t break/pause as soon as you focus on another tab.)
The feature is now live in the Dev Channel version of Chrome, which means it should roll out to the standard public version of Chrome once they’ve worked out all the kinks.