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Google Chrome team rolls back the update that muted many web games

16 May 2018

Google has tweaked Chrome 66 to make the new feature that silences auto-playing videos less aggressive. The browser began with a list of 1,000 websites where Google found that users typically played audio or video with sound. Earlier in May, the company modified the policy that it used to block unwanted autoplays as well.

These new autoplay rules are aimed at strictly defining when media can automatically start. When Chrome 66 started rolling out, it was meant to mute annoying ads and videos.

The original update automatically paused Web Audio projects when a webpage launched. It reportedly created problems for artists, as per a report in Waypoint.

The Chromium team confirms: "We've updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API".

Pallet admitted, "We didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers using the Web Audio API". This shouldn't affect most audio and videos (included in the audio and video HTML tags), which will continue to be auto-muted, but should ensure the accidentally affected web components are working correctly. The new functionality was meant to silence auto-playing audio and video in the web browser, but it inadvertently muted audio from many web games and other projects too, with no way to get it back.

The policy will be re-applied to the Web Audio API in Chrome 70 (October).

Google's Chrome team recently said that it has updated the mobile web browser to temporarily put on hold the autoplay policy for the apps, games, and RTC features using the Web Audio API.

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

Google says it is "still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users", so it may come up with an alternative solution in the future. Google now plans on re-introducing the restrictions in Chrome 70, but the Chrome team is looking into other options as well. "Interestingly, another developer Benji Kay responded to Pallett's post, by saying, "Simply delaying the enacting of this policy doesn't solve any of the major concerns" with its contents".

Google Chrome team rolls back the update that muted many web games