Google has set a time frame for blocking autoplay videos in the Chrome browser. Starting in January, Chrome will only allow automatic playback if the videos are muted by default, or if they meet Google’s criteria showing that users are actually interested in the content. Apple has announced a similar feature in the next version of its Safari desktop browser, coming alongside MacOS High Sierra later this month. (For now, Chrome users can stop audio from playing in any tab by right-clicking on it, then selecting “mute tab.”)
This won’t be Google’s only attempt to crack down on unpleasant web browsing experiences. Later in 2018, the company plans to start filtering out ads that an industry group has deemed unacceptable. Those include pop-ups, “prestitial” ads that hold you back from the content, and “sticky” ads that cover up more than 30% of the screen.