Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Google rolls back Chrome update that broke web-based audio

Google rolls back autoplay ban in Chrome 66 after borking web-based games Chrome is getting too clever for some
Kayla Schwartz | 17 May, 2018, 01:18

The blocking feature, announced in January, aimed to remove loud, sudden and unwanted videos from the web, which automatically played when a browser launched - and also stopped a series of apps and games from playing audio for alerts and other elements. "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".

With the release of Chrome 66 in April, Google clamped down on lots of websites that tried to play video and audio automatically, but the browser doesn't always block autoplay.

That's not a very useful solution for developers who don't have access to the original code used to make legacy content, though, or those who can no longer update that code on the original servers hosting their work.

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

A good change in theory, the policies have negatively impacted games and other experiences (according to The Verge) that use the Web Audio API. But the browser maker says it plans to reimplement the feature in October, a move that has failed to satisfy many Web-based developers.

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"We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code", explains Google product manager John Pallett in a post.

As per a report in The Verge, a developer named Ashley Gullen had revealed the ways to fix the issue, but Pallett has said that it is a "non-trivial user interface challenge".

Numerous commenters suggest the Chrome team allow users to opt in instead of enabling the feature by default. Then, as you browse the web, Chrome updates that list as it learns where you play media and where you don't.

Google is partially disabling Chrome's fancy auto-mute feature after it silenced some web games and art projects. But whether this loophole will end up being abused to autoplay video with sound and get developers to update their apps to avoid them being muted remains to be seen.

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