The internet is collectively poised to exhale loudly in relief as news has begun to surface that Google Chrome will silence tabs that automatically play whenever a new tab is opened.
In what might start to put an end to one of the biggest bug-bears of recent times for users of the web, a feature blocking them from starting has appeared in the Developer Channel for Chromium.
Judging by the buzz being created around this prospective new addition, it seems that this particular feature will definitely be making an appearance on a Chrome release sometime soon.
At present, Chrome has markers that indicate which tab audio and video are playing in and users can silence the background noise in the affected tabs by clicking on them. The media still plays on, but at least users don’t have to listen to adverts for detergents they have no intention of buying. Firefox also has that ability, but it’s still to make it into an official stable release.
However, it’s still a time consuming and irritating affair, (especially on a small screen laptop, at 2 am, in bed, working, when suddenly some shrill American actress/”laundry expert,” starts selling her wares, and your other half wakes up and you spend the rest of the night in the cold box room at the end of the hall on a bed too small for your 6”1 frame.)
Chrome will now stop media from playing in background tabs until the tab is brought to the front of the screen. Once the media starts, if the tab is then sent back again, it will continue to play. Videos and audio may still buffer, but background ads will now have wait before they start annoying you. This at least will give users one less annoyance to deal with when surfing.
However, this will also mean that on sites such as YouTube and their counterparts, tab will have to be “activated” in the foreground before it starts to play.
I suspect though that most Chrome users will be happy to live with that minor grumble.
I know I can.