Google Reverts Chrome Desktop In Wake Of Developer Uproar

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Google says the policy will once again be applied to the Web Audio API in October, and that developers have until that point to update the code in their web-based games and apps according to Google's developer guidelines.

"The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers, but in this case we didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers", John Pallett wrote in a developer forum on the bug.

Chrome 66 introduced a new autoplay policy that prevented audio and video from automatically playing in a browser tab.

The developer community has made their frustrations clear and the hiccup has found its way to the CRBug tracker and the folks at Chromium have taken notice.

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Other developers have suggested methods for stopping auto-playing audio that would be less disruptive to legacy interactive content, such as automatically muting new tabs or warning the user and offering options when a page first attempts to play audio.

Meanwhile, the implementation delay will give "Web Audio API developers for gaming, audio applications, some RTC features more time to update their code".

"This report was originally filed with a user interface suggestion for controlling autoplay".

However, while Google is planning to bring back the policy in October, Pallett noted that Google has yet to solve a "non-trivial user interface challenge with a lot of nuances".

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The autoplay blocking is an example of how browsers are getting more assertive on behalf of users faced with pushy websites.

This is, apparently, reasonably easy to do; however, some users have complained that, even with several months to act, not every game, art project, or whatever else will be updated.

The good news is that Google isn't throwing out the baby with the bath water: Pallett said the change "does not affect most media playback on the web" because the "autoplay policy will remain in effect for video and audio " content.

Have you come across any such unintended consequences on Chrome? In response to the outrage, Google is temporarily rolling back some of the changes. But whether this loophole will end up being abused to autoplay video with sound and get developers to update their apps to avoid them being muted remains to be seen.

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