Google: We're having to hit pause on Chrome's audio autoplay block

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The tentpole feature in Chrome 66 is a new set of autoplay restrictions aimed at reducing annoying videos that automatically start playing back.

As pointed out by the Chrome team, developers have been given the tools and methods to modify their media to circumvent the Autoplay policy.

Pallett wrote that this will give developers working with games and audio applications the opportunity to spend more time updating their code. "The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers", he said, "but in this case we didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers using the Web Audio API".

The "more time for developers" angle is an - ahem - interesting one, because Chrome 66's beta debuted on March 21, 2018 and discussion of its features played out for several months before that date.

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Developers who use the Web Audio API quickly complained to Google about the change. For smaller platforms especially, the Autoplay policy has broken HTML5-based web games by permanently muting audio unless the developers explicitly write in code to do otherwise.

Numerous commenters suggest the Chrome team allow users to opt in instead of enabling the feature by default.

Following numerous complaints from end-users and developers alike, Google has announced it has partially reverted the change to restore functionality to these games: 'We've updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API. "If you are honest in your claim that the side effects of the policy were unintended and unwanted, you should commit-in clear, straightforward language-to finding other alternatives which do not break vast swathes of cultural work that was developed and distributed on the open web". "He writes, "We are still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users, and we will post more detailed thoughts on that topic here later", he writes". The browser began with a list of 1,000 websites where Google found that users typically played audio or video with sound. Then, as you browse the web, Chrome updates that list as it learns where you play media and where you don't.

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