Facebook’s Latest Video Announcement Has Me Praying for Auto-Mute Tabs in Google Chrome

Today’s announcement by Facebook, that they’ve decided to enable sound along with their existing autoplay videos in my home stream, has me praying for Google Chrome to step up to the plate with a native feature to auto mute sounds from tabs.

Presently there are three ways to mute sounds from auto-playing — two of them require multiple steps and the last being a third-party extension. Google Chrome should allow us to automatically mute sound from all tabs.

In case you missed it, today Facebook announced:

Videos in News Feed have previously played silently — you tap on a video to hear sound. As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.

If your phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound. If you never want videos to play with sound, you can disable this feature by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” in Settings. We’ll also be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.

This all sounds like a wonderful idea, until every marketer decides that the way to (charge more money to) reach Facebook users is by blasting their message in full audio streaming annoying glory.

The only way I can see us fighting autoplay audio is the same way we fought annoying pop-up ads. Google Chrome automatic suppression.

Once Google Chrome provides an option to automatically block auto-playing audio this annoying trend will die a quick death. And it won’t be any too soon. I’ve seen newspapers follow the trend of uber-annoying site CNET in blasting audio at me anytime I follow a link to their site (which I do less and less since I loathe auto-start audio).

Facebook also thinks we want to be constantly bombarded with sound as we scroll our news feed:

We know that sometimes you want to watch a video and also want to keep scrolling through your News Feed. It’s now possible to minimize the video you’re watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed. You can drag the video to any corner of the screen, and if you’re using an Android device, you can keep the video playing even when you exit the Facebook app to do something else on your phone.

Please, Google — you all but killed the pop-up ad. Please kill annoying auto-play of video with sound trend by defaulting Google Chrome to mute tabs so we have to manually consent to the audio and not the other way around.


About the Author

Wayne Schulz
Wayne is a diehard Android user and consultant specializing in Sage 100 ERP Accounting Software. He lives in Glastonbury CT with his two children. When not helping them with their homework or pushing the latest school fundraiser off on his co-workers, he is active hiking and investigating all manner of technology.