Op-Ed: New Chrome browser to block most autoplay videos

Posted Sep 16, 2017 by Ken Hanly
In a move that many will welcome Google's Chrome browser new release in January of 2018 will mute most video autoplay videos
Google s Chrome.
Google's Chrome.
© Illustration by Digital Journal
I find these autoplay videos most annoying. While you are peacefully reading text all of a sudden an autooplay video starts up noisily. Some of the videos are ads but many are actually related to the content of accompanying articles. If I want to watch the video, which I sometimes do, I can do so by clicking on the start indicator in the video window. If the website I am reading insists on needing an ad, it can always be placed so that once I click to start the video it plays before I get to watch it. While this may irritate some it is much less obnoxious than blatantly interrupting a person while they are reading.
In an official blog post, Google noted that in Chrome 64 it will block any autoplay that has sound but "autoplay will be allowed when either the media won't play sound or the user has indicated an interest in the media". I see no reason for the exceptions, as even a video playing without sound is a distraction. If a person is interested in the media they can click to start the video. There is no need for it to start automatically.
A similar feature is to be incorporated into the Apple Safari browser and was announced back in June. It will be available September 25 when the new Mac Operating System High Sierra will be launched. There is already an extension to the Chrome browser available for blocking autoplay videos available here. There is also an add-on for the browser Opera that will do the same thing. I use it. There is also an update coming in October for Chrome 63 that will you allow you to block audio for specific sites. When you load a website on Chrome 63 you can click on the "Page info bubble" that is to the left of the URL, and look for the Sound option which you can disable.
Google wrote in a blog post:“One of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing. To address this, Chrome will be making autoplay more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio.” Google also plans to provide Native ad-blocking features soon. Google's Sridhar Ramaswamy said: “We plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018,” Wikipedia describes native advertising as follows: Native advertising is a type of advertising, mostly online, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. In many cases, it manifests as either an article or video, produced by an advertiser with the specific intent to promote a product, while matching the form and style which would otherwise be seen in the work of the platform's editorial staff. The word "native" refers to this coherence of the content with the other media that appears on the platform. The advertising is often effective because it appears and usually has the style of the informational content that surrounds it. Indeed it could be regarded as disguised advertising. Examples familiar to many people are promoted tweets on Twitter, and promoted posts on Facebook.
Another more drastic way of removing autoplay video ads is shown in the appended video. I haven't tested it out since I don't use Chrome but most of the comments claim it did. However the video is from May 2016 so Chrome may have changed by now in a way that does not allow what the video recommends.