Chrome 66's autoplay policy has good intentions, but a side effect is making things worse. Google has since removed the feature temporarily.
Google Release Chrome 66 Update To Undo The Change
The Chrome 66 update automatically mutes the audio on websites to combat the increase in annoying ads that automatically play upon loading a web page. Although it did its job, it also affected the sound in games and art projects.
Google responded by releasing an update for the browser that removes the policy for the Web Audio API, which was affected by the change. It does not affect the autoplay policy for the audio and video HTML tags.
"Thank you everyone for the examples, they were helpful to our investigation," said John Pallett, a manager at Google, on a thread about the issue.
"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."
Pallett noted that the removal is only temporary. The feature is coming back in Chrome 70, which is slated for release in October. He further advised developers to update their code based on their recommendations.
The Chrome team further said that it is looking to improve the experience for both developers and users.
Some Devs Are Not Happy, But Users Are Pleased
Developers are still not happy with the solution, however. One of them, who is unhappy with the feature, said a majority of already existing works will not be updated by October. This will result in the cultural erasure of those works, which will not be preserved once Google rolls out Chrome 70.
Chrome users appreciate this move, nonetheless, as video ads get more aggressive on web pages. Most internet users use ad blockers to get rid of the annoying videos and pop-ups, but websites have started blocking users from viewing their content if they have an active ad blocker.
When Chrome 66 launched in April, it started with the sites from its list of over a thousand websites wherein users have played media with sound. It then updates the list as users browse the internet and play or don't play media on certain websites.