Autoplaying videos are surely one of the biggest annoyances that you may run into on the Internet. They suck up bandwidth, may use CPU, and are distracting. If you add sound to the mix, they are one of the most annoying types of content that you encounter on the Internet.
Sites love them; they generate a lot of revenue for these sites if they are monetized. Users hate them, for the reasons mentioned above.
Google, the world's largest advertising company, announced this year that it will do something about it. The company's Chrome browser will block autoplaying media with sound unless the user explicitly permitted the site to play this type of media. On the advertisement side, Google plans to disable ads in Chrome on sites that use certain types of advertisement; Chrome will block advertisement on sites with auto-playing video ads with sound both on the desktop and on mobile.
Google's main motivation for doing so is simple: it does not want users to use third-party adblockers anymore than they do already. It also wants users to keep being exposed to advertisement, and hopes that by blocking ads on sites with annoying types of advertisement, users won't install a separate ad-blocker.
AutoplayStopper is available for Chrome officially. The extension is developed by the author of the Firefox add-on FlashStopper. FlashStopper is a legacy add-on for Firefox that won't be released as a WebExtension. It is end of life so to speak.
AutoplayStopper is not available for Firefox right now. It may work with Chrome Store Foxified though.
The extension supports Flash and HTML5 video autoplay blocking. It adds an icon to the browser's toolbar that highlights if content on the active page has been blocked from playing automatically.
I tested the extension on various sites that play video content automatically and it worked on all of them. This does not necessarily mean that there won't be any that slip by, but it worked really well in these cases: sites that play video content in sidebar, sites that load video ads before other content, video hosting sites.
You can still play the content; a click on play is all that is required to start the video.
A click on the extension icon displays options to disable the extension's functionality for the active site, and to disable the functionality globally. You may disable autoplay blocking for Flash and HTML5 separately, and also allow autoplay for a session (which stops only the first autoplay for a site).
You can change the default behavior in the AutoplayStopper options. There you find options to change the default mode from disable autoplay to allow autoplay for HTML5 video content, and allow detection for Flash content to disable detection.
Exception management is integrated there as well. You can manage sites with exceptions, or add sites to the list of exceptions. Exceptions can have the status allow, block, session or undefined. The first two are most important when you add manual exceptions, as you can use it to whitelist or blacklist sites.
AutoplayStopper is a powerful browser extension for Google Chrome and other Chromium based browsers. It works better than other video autoplay blockers, and offers the right functionality so that you can define exceptions. (thanks Robert)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.