Google is partially disabling Chrome’s fancy auto-mute feature after it silenced some web games and art projects.
The team is pushing out a new version of Chrome 66 (version 66.0.3359.181) to temporarily correct the issue.
The issue is with the Web Audio API, says Google. Now, automatic mute won’t apply to anything using the Web Audio API until Chrome 70, which scheduled for release in October.
“We’re doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code,” said Google Chrome product manager John Pallett, in a comment on the issue page. “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.”
This should restore sound to sites affected by the new auto-mute feature. However, some developers are still upset. One, who also commented on the issue on the Chromium page, pointed out that most work won’t be update by October, if its ever updated at all.
“You guys definitely have the power to break everyone’s work, should you wish to exercise that power, but you do not have the power to make people add workarounds to code that they are not able to alter (for all the various reasons that have been given here). Nobody has that power,” he wrote in the comment.
Many of the commenters suggest the Chrome team allow users to opt in instead of enabling the feature by default. Whether they go this route or not, the Chrome team should investigate a better way of implementing the feature, instead of forcing developers to change their work to an arbitrary new system.
Ayyy death comes a few updates later!
— cabbibo (@Cabbibo) May 16, 2018
It’s important to note that the change only applies to the Web Audio API. It does not affect media using <audio> or <video> HTML tags.