This Well-Meaning Chrome Update Broke Several Apps and Games

Stephen Shankland  CNET

Other comments call for a response from the Chrome development team, particularly with regard to suggestions for modifying the policy to indicate when audio is being disabled, and to enable users to easily switch it back on, either temporarily or permanently.

Google has pushed an update to Chrome that essentially rolls back an unpopular policy change from last week that automatically muted audio for auto-playing web-based apps, including many HTML 5 based games and art projects.

Meanwhile, the implementation delay is created to give "Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code".

The Chrome team admits that it "didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers using the Web Audio API".

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The developer community has made their frustrations clear and the hiccup has found its way to the CRBug tracker and the folks at Chromium have taken notice. For that reason, the current Chrome version 66 will no longer automatically mute Web Audio objects. Developer Benji Kay, who specializes in audio tools and games for the web, explained that postponing the policy will not fix the many issues that have appeared.

Notably, the autoplay changes are still applicable for HTML5 video and audio, meaning autoplaying videos are still blocked. "He writes, "We are still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users, and we will post more detailed thoughts on that topic here later", he writes". Some feel that Google is restricting the spirit of a free and open web buy forcing their standards on the world's most popular browser. Some requested user interface elements that would allow people to control how autoplay content is handled in Chrome, while others simply wanted their games to play their usual variety of music and in-game sounds.

A Chrome update that tried to kill off autoplaying video content on websites had an unpleasant side-effect: it broke a wide range of apps and games, according to reports from users and developers.

Have you come across any such unintended consequences on Chrome?

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