Canary build of Google Chrome tells you which tab is playing audio

 

Ever had lots of tabs open in Chrome and can't find which one is playing audio? Well the latest Canary build of Google Chrome solves that problem by letting you see which one is being noisy by showing an audio animation in the tab; the feature seems to work across many plugins including flash websites.

François Beaufort who first spotted the feature in Chromium notes that actual purpose of the tweak is to exclude these tabs from those it discards when memory runs out. This will allow Chrome to better track the tabs that are actually "active", however, we are sure it will be very helpful for those annoyed by unknown audio sources. Beaufort also recorded this video below to show off the feature; you can clearly see the animation in the tab that's playing audio placed over the favicon.

There's no guarantee that this will make it to a final version of Chrome but it seems likely due to the positives it can bring to users. You can download the latest Canary build right here.

Source: The Next WebFrançois Beaufort

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All browsers with HTML5 audio/video support should have an user-configurable option to prevent auto-play of audio/video streams. And on the same note, a way to turn off CSS animations and stuff. They can be abused to shove attention-grabbing (read, annoying) ads in your face. May be a blacklist would be nice.

Not really. If it auto-mutes tabs as they are backgrounded, you would lose the ability to listen to streaming audio while working on something else.

Nice to see this finally in Chrome! It's a long requested feature, but I recall it couldn't be added because it was usually about Flash video, and it couldn't be deactivated selectively like that, or something like that anyway. I guess Flash now has better support (?). As for HTML5 video, well now that's a completely different story, being directly under the web browser's control. The best part about HTML5!

Seems like a rather useless feature, if I've got a YT tab (or many) I know they're playing audio, other than that, no tabs are making noise, and even if they were, I'd know which tabs they were without a visual indication.

So how would you know without checking each tab which one is playing audio in an advert? It's far from useless if you work with lots of tabs.

In all years of seeing adverts, the only adverts I've known to play sound were the annoying ones (circa 2002 or so) with the 'FREE MESSENGER SMILEYS' that went 'OH MAI GAWWWD, NO WAII' when your mouse went over them. Since then, I've never had an advert with sound.

Sometimes on my local newspaper website, there's been an advert which is a kind of music video playlist, and it starts playing the music video which is annoying. Worst of all is, I usually go down the latest news page and middle click the articles I'm interested in, so I have multiple tabs, but only some feature this advert, as it's sometimes a regular static ad for the other tabs, so audio ads are not rare.

n_K said,
Seems like a rather useless feature, if I've got a YT tab (or many) I know they're playing audio, other than that, no tabs are making noise, and even if they were, I'd know which tabs they were without a visual indication.

More than "seems" like a rather useless feature, to me! It IS a totally useless feature, period! One of the dumbest "features" I've ever heard of!!

If you don't know which tab is playing something, you OBVIOUSLY have way to many tabs open. Never have figured out why anyone would need more than MAYBE 3 tabs at a time open anyway. Just how many eyes do you people have anyway?!

Between simply disabling activex in IE9/10 or disabling the flash plugin in any other browser, that crap is avoided 100%. Doesn't hurt to have adblock and a great host file also!

Edited by cork1958, Feb 27 2013, 11:15am :

1) Plenty of people need more than 3 tabs, not everyone uses things the same as you. I often need more than 3 for doing research from various sources.
2) Why would I disable flash for something that only happens occasionally? When I'd be turning it on often?
3) Adblock doesn't get rid of them all, many aren't classed as ads.

So this feature is the better option and clearly isn't useless.

Kinda cool I guess. I'm usually smart enough to know which tab I have music playing on though.
Definitely not something I'd leave IE 10 for.

LUTZIFER said,
Kinda cool I guess. I'm usually smart enough to know which tab I have music playing on though.
Definitely not something I'd leave IE 10 for.

That's great, but I think it's more intended for when you get ads that play audio in the background and that kind of think.

primexx said,
not if you open up a bunch of tabs at once and the video plays after they're all open

IE will not let flash videos start playing if the tab is not activated yet. (asin you opened the background tab).
Also since I got tracking protection on, I haven't seen a sound making ad in ages. At first I would sometimes but its self learning

This is a feature I'd like to have. But I think it could be done more elegantly.

Maybe simply showing a Speaker icon like the one in the notification area on the OS, on the tab

thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!
I'm sick of opening multiple tabs on a news site and having one of them start a video. It's a game of tab clicking to figure out which one it was.

xstex said,
I do have adblock, plenty of these video one don't get blocked.

Very weird, I haven't seen one in ages. Have you tried with different filters or Firefox's Adblock to see if there's any difference?

francescob said,

Very weird, I haven't seen one in ages. Have you tried with different filters or Firefox's Adblock to see if there's any difference?

Honestly it's super rare that one slips through, I use AdBlock in Chrome, but will have a play around and see.

xstex said,
I do have adblock, plenty of these video one don't get blocked.
Get FlashControl. White list YouTube and Hulu. The rest requires manual operation in a very obvious and controllable way.

The Laughing Man said,
Weather.com has auto playing videos even with adblock. Its not technically an ad though.

Filters are maintained by communities so if an ad isn't blocked it's usually either because it's not an ad or because nobody cared about having it added to the filter yet.

pickypg said,
Get FlashControl. White list YouTube and Hulu. The rest requires manual operation in a very obvious and controllable way.

There's no need for that, both Chrome and Firefox now allow requiring confirmations or whitelisting for each plugin (click to play).

francescob said,
There's no need for that, both Chrome and Firefox now allow requiring confirmations or whitelisting for each plugin (click to play).
I was unaware that Chrome added support for that, but I do not see where I can individually enable only, say, Flash for youtube.com. I see where it says "plug-ins," but I don't want to enable, say, Java for the site just because I whitelisted Flash (not that I expect YouTube to do something with Java, but other sites may be more corruptible, like ads in Hulu sometime in the future).

pickypg said,
I was unaware that Chrome added support for that, but I do not see where I can individually enable only, say, Flash for youtube.com. I see where it says "plug-ins," but I don't want to enable, say, Java for the site just because I whitelisted Flash (not that I expect YouTube to do something with Java, but other sites may be more corruptible, like ads in Hulu sometime in the future).

Chrome allows setting click to play for each plugin (open chrome://chrome/settings/content ) and for each website but not a combination of the twos. What you want is natively done only by Firefox: on the Permissions tab of the page informations dialog there's an entry to set the permissions for every type of plugin.