Earlier this year, we covered news that Chrome would begin allowing users to block audio on autoplaying video. With any luck, we’ll see other browsers rolling this feature out in short order. If video that autoplays on mouse-over is annoying, video that autoplays when you have the temerity to load a page is a murderous frustration. Chrome 64 addresses this shortcoming, along with a few other changes we’ll discuss below.
First and foremost, with Chrome 64, you can disable autoplay video across an entire website with just a few clicks. While I don’t personally use Chrome, I’m hoping to see this feature spread to Firefox and other browsers in the near future. Autoplay video is bad, autoplaying video with audio is worse, and sites that automatically start playing video again after you pause it are the 2017-equivalent of MySpace Java plugins. All three have become more popular across the web, and while there are plenty of third-party add-ons and extensions that can deal with these headaches, dealing with it in-browser is probably the best idea.
Other improvements in Chrome 64 include a more aggressive pop-up blocker that can handle two kinds of common fakeouts online. The first, which we’ve all seen for years, are ads with ‘Download’ buttons that look genuine at first glance, but are nothing more than ads on closer inspection. Second are ads that offer you an ‘X’ to close the app, only to bombard you with more ads as soon as you do. Either way, both of these winning features should find it harder to sneak into your Chrome browser in the future.
Other new features include support for HDR video playback when connected to a compatible monitor, some changes to Linux notification handling, finer-grained resize control via the Resize Observer API, and a wider range of low-level changes, all available here.
Chrome 63 was just released a few weeks ago in Chrome’s stable channel. Chrome 64 is currently in beta and, based on Google’s typical release cadence, should be available in roughly a month. I suspect the only tears shed will be from companies that can’t pretend you actually wanted a never-ending video stream of inane segment after inane segment, after they first blast unasked-for audio into your life like the aural equivalent of a blender to the ear. Websites need funding, particularly since bad actors are likely to kill any hint of a reader-funded cryptocurrency model before it starts, but nobody needs aggressive ads yelling at them without warning.
Let’s block ads! (Why?)