Pallet admitted, "We didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers using the Web Audio API".
With the release of Chrome 66 in April, Google clamped down on lots of websites that tried to play video and audio automatically, but the browser doesn't always block autoplay. Developers of browser games collectively called out Google for the change, and they responded.
Google said Tuesday it's updated its Chrome browser to temporarily remove a recent change that broke the audio on several web-based games. "If you are honest in your claim that the side effects of the policy were unintended and unwanted, you should commit-in clear, straightforward language-to finding other alternatives which do not break vast swathes of cultural work that was developed and distributed on the open web".
While the original audio policy change blindsided developers, the temporary rollback seeks to give them time to adapt their projects for the coming change but, as some devs pointed out last week, not everyone affected by the change has the ability, time, or resources to go back and retroactively change the code of projects already online.
The good news is that Google isn't throwing out the baby with the bath water: Pallett said the change "does not affect most media playback on the web" because the "autoplay policy will remain in effect for video and audio " content. Google has reportedly issued a partial fix.
"We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code", explains Google product manager John Pallett in a post. Affected developers will have until then to add a few lines to their code, thus re-enabling the auto-muted audio when a user first interacts with the page.
The autoplay blocking is an example of how browsers are getting more assertive on behalf of users faced with pushy websites.
The most recent update, Chrome 66, pauses audio on browser media objects, meant to silence irritating adverts.