About a week ago Google released Chrome 66 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Apart from general fixes and performance improvements, Chrome 66 brings a couple of new features and enhancements.
Chrome 66 includes some security improvements, new developer features and mutes autoplaying videos by default. Yes, finally Google Chrome now blocks annoying autoplaying content by default. For the obvious reason, autoplay videos consume more data and affect the overall browsing experience, especially on the mobile devices.
Google has been working on this functionality since last year. The feature was expected to arrive in early 2018 but it was delayed several times. Originally, this functionality was expected to arrive with Chrome 64 in January 2018. However, with Chrome 64, Google added an option to completely disable audio on a per-site basis.
In Chrome 66, media automatically starts only if it meets the certain conditions. Those conditions are:
- Content is muted, or does not feature audio
- Users previously tapped or clicked on the site during the browsing session
- On mobile, if the site has been added to the Home Screen by the user
- On desktop, if the user has frequently played media on the site, according to the Media Engagement Index
As per the test runs by VentureBeat, autoplaying content that is muted still plays automatically for some cases. However, you can permanently block autoplay videos for a particular website. Basically, this new feature work based on your regular usage and interaction with media for each website.
Chrome measures a Media Engagement Index for each website you visit. Media Engagement Index is measured based on various factors such as length and size of the video, audio data and more. For each website how a user interacts with the content the MEI change. You can check your MEI for each site from chrome://media-engagement.
So overall, based on the data collected by Media Engagement Index Chrome will mute the autoplaying videos. So maybe in future, we will see the real impact of this functionality. What are your thoughts about this feature? Let us know in a comment below.