Google will strangle most auto-playing audio in early 2018 when it issues Chrome 64, the upgrade expected to ship Jan. 21-27, the search giant promised last week.
"Chrome will be making auto-play more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio," wrote Mounir Lamouri, a Chrome software engineer, in a post to a company blog.
With Chrome 64, auto-play contents - often, but not always, advertisements - will not be allowed to run automatically unless it mutes the audio. There will be some exceptions, including a very large one: If the user has clicked or tapped (desktop Chrome or mobile Chrome, respectively), "somewhere on the site during the browsing session," the audio may play.
That exclusion means that auto-play audio won't sound as soon as the user reaches a site -- the biggest complaint about the practice -- but the content could later begin running its video and echoing its audio.
Before year's end, with the launch of Chrome 63 - currently slated for release December 3-9) - Google will take a preliminary step by providing a site-specific muting option from the Page Info bubble (called up by clicking on the "i" within a circle at the far left of the URL in the address bar).
Google has gagged Chrome before. Two years ago, for example, the company announced that auto-play audio would be muted on all background tabs.
Other browser makers have similar ideas. Apple, for instance, will introduce per-site and web-wide controls over auto-play in Safari 11, the browser set to ship with macOS High Sierra on Sept. 25.