Unexpected audio blasts can be super annoying
Unexpected audio blasts can be super annoying

The sudden jolt of panic caused by a background tab playing a video unexpectedly… Yeah, it’s something most of us are familiar with.

Recent versions of Chrome ship with features designed to tame this annoyance. There’s a nifty tab indicator to find a noisy web-page quickly and a mute button to make it shuttity-up -up-up.

Now, in the latest developer channel release of Chrome, Google is going one step further.

Google Presses Pause on Auto-Play Media

These annoying sound blast are the result of media elements starting to play as soon as a web-page loads.

It’s annoying because most of the time you don’t know these media elements are there (much less about to blast out of your speakers) or if you do know they’re there, you want them to ‘wait’ to play until you’re ready to watch (otherwise you wouldn’t be opening it in a background tab).

The latest dev channel release of Google Chrome for Windows, Mac & Linux solves these issues. Chrome will pause videos, ads and other auto-play media content until you’re ready.

Video content loaded in a background tab will no longer play automatically until you visit the tab.

Chrome will continue to load media content in the background. For example, if you middle click a YouTube video it won’t play right away but Chrome will begin loading it so as to avoid buffering.

This feature may, potentially, improve Chrome’s power usage too. Because plugins won’t need to start rendering media until you’ve given it the okay Chrome will, in theory, sup on a little less battery juice than before.

This doesn’t affect the ability to play video in the background

Before you panic this feature does not remove the ability to play videos in background tabs. You can continue to listen to Nyan Cat on loops on YouTube while browsing the Wikipedia entry for Groot.

All that’s being ‘halted’ here is the ability for tabs to automatically play content in the background. Chrome is ‘pausing’ content until it knows that you want it to play.

It’s a nifty features, and is enabled by default on the Chrome dev channel for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Development background tabs tab indicators