Google Chrome’s latest update blocks videos from playing sound automatically


The days of opening a website and a video playing out loudly are over, if you plan to swap to the latest Google Chrome update.
The update now prevents sounds from videos from auto-playing, leaving the user to decide if they wish to turn it on.
Whilst auto-playing sound can be annoying, it is also a huge drain on mobile batteries.
If a video does not include sound, Chrome allows the autoplay. Similarly, if a user has previously added a site to their preferred sites on mobile or engaged otherwise with a site, Chrome will play with sound. The company explained:

“LocalNewsSite.com has both text and video content. Most people enter the site through the homepage and then click on the news articles. Autoplay on the news article pages would be allowed because of user interaction with the domain. However, care should be taken to make sure users aren’t surprised by autoplaying content.”

Determining whether you did engage with the website or not follows certain guidelines:

“Chrome’s current approach is a ratio of visits to significant media playback events per origin: Consumption of the media (audio/video) must be greater than 7 seconds; Audio must be present and unmuted;  Tab with video is active; Size of the video (in px) must be greater than 200×140. From that, Chrome calculates a media engagement score which is highest on sites where media is played on a regular basis. When it is high enough, media playback is allowed to autoplay on desktop only.”

VentureBeat ran a test of the new feature on Chrome on YouTube and found mixed results.
For users who are thoroughly annoyed by video autoplays with sound, Chrome also added a way to block autoplay videos on select websites entirely.

Caroline Hugonenc, VP of Research at Teads, commented:

“This change to Google Chrome means brands are going to need to rethink their video advertising. For advertisers, silent video doesn’t need to be detrimental to ad performance. Our research shows that video ads with sound off perform as well or better than sound on in half of cases, and even better when you make sure to optimise the ads on mute. My advice to advertisers and creatives would be to watch your video on mute and question if the message is clear. If it’s not, consider including captions on voice-over and music videos or using smart subtitles for dialogue videos. You can also enhance your message with interactive elements, such as chatbots, overlays and skins, that give consumers another visual way to engage.”