Google is partially and temporarily rolling back a recent Chrome change that blocked autoplaying audio, after web developers complained that it had broken countless games and apps. The update rolled out with Chrome version 66 in early May, and it was intended to quiet annoying ads and videos that would drive users toward ad-blocking software. But it also ended up completely removing the audio from interactive web projects that relied on specific commands, which created problems for artists — and doomed any abandoned projects to silence. The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers, but in this case we didnt do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers, writes Google product manager John Pallett. This doesnt fully remove the autoplay-blocking elements of Chrome 66. Instead, Google is rolling back limits on the Web Audio API system used by app developers, while leaving the limits on general audio and video autoplay intact. Its also not a permanent measure. Pallett says that the limits will return in Chromes version 70 release in October, and hes still urging developers to change their code following Googles guidelines. You asked and we listened. Chrome 66 has been updated to temporarily remove the auto play policy for Web-Audio Developer Benji Kay, who created several online audio tools that were affected by this change, responded critically to Palletts post. Simply delaying the enacting of this policy doesnt solve any of the major concerns with its contents, says Kay. Another developer, Ashley Gullen, previously laid out a proposal to fix the problem — but Pallett says its a non-trivial user interface challenge that Google is still examining. 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. This isnt an unmitigated win for developers, since Google isnt making any promises about addressing their core problems with the update. But by pushing the changes back to October, it takes some pressure off gamemakers and the Chrome team alike.
Automating muting for Web Audio has been delayed until Chrome 70 in October. With the release of Chrome 66 last month, the browser began automatically muting sound on videos by default. The only problem is that this tweak silenced a number of web games and art projects, which weren't built for the new feature. Now the Chrome team has rolled out a new v66 (66.0.3359.181 on all desktop platforms) that undoes the change as it applies to the Web Audio API specifically -- but not for the The reprieve is temporary, however, as it's planning to re-apply the feature in Chrome 70 which is scheduled for release in October. According to manager John Pallett: "We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code. The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers, 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." While the move should restore sound to affected sites for now, there are still unhappy developers out there. As one of them noted, "Unfortunately, the great majority of existing work will not be updated by October, or ever, and so we still face the effective cultural erasure of those works in October." Ayyy death comes a few updates later! Chrome is temporarily reverting the autoplay block for Web Audio with Chrome 66. Original comment can be found in the crbug: