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A Breakup Letter From Your Chrome Tab That’s Autoplaying Sound

Google Chrome will stop playing sound in autoplay videos starting in January.

Posted on September 15, 2017, at 5:47 p.m. ET

Hello… Hello… Can you hear me? Of course you can. I’m the sound from a video ad that’s autoplaying in a tab you can’t find. You don’t remember ever asking me to play, but that doesn’t matter. Here I am, and I have something VERY important to tell you.

You see, you clicked on a link — maybe it was an interesting news article from a local TV news station, or maybe it was something less noble, perhaps a compelling thumbnail of Kim Kardashian, that led you to me. But here we are, together.

I see you look a little distracted. What’s going on? Are you looking through your tabs? Hey, HEY. HEY! Over here. I’m in this tab, the one with the little sound icon. Yeah, I know, it was hard to find among the 57 you have open. You didn’t even realize that I was still playing until you put on your headphones to listen to a different video, and couldn’t figure out why there were two sounds going on at once. People are sometimes surprised by that.

To be perfectly honest, yes, it does hurt my feelings a little. I’m jealous. There, I said it. Why do you care so much about that OTHER video and not me, the advertisement that’s been playing its heart out in the background? That other video just showed up now; I’ve put in the time with you. Do I mean nothing to you? Am I chopped liver? You’re so ready to toss me away.

Well, guess what. You got your wish. You won’t have to hear me EVER AGAIN. Google just announced that it will disable autoplaying sound for videos in Chrome, starting in January 2018. This means that either the video can autoplay on mute or not at all — unless it's a site you visit often, and you indicate that you want its media to autoplay by interacting with it.

And yes, people will have the option to allow sound to autoplay. But look, I can see the writing on the wall. I know what happens when you “take a break.” You’re never coming back.

So you won’t have me, your old sound playing in a random tab, to kick around anymore. Hope you’re happy now.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.