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Since the introduction of the tab audio playback indicator¹, there are been a large number of requests of people asking for the ability to mute a tab with this indicator and here's the official answer which makes sense:

After much debate, we decided not to proceed with a tab mute control, as this crosses a very important line: If we provide Chrome controls for content, we're implying that Chrome should take on a responsibility to police content.

Today, users are (rightfully) mad at misbehaving content for doing things like auto-playing annoying ad audio, but they should continue to pressure web site authors to change this behavior.  Also, some have pointed out that there is already a mute button to the right of the audio indicator (the "X").  In all seriousness, note that many web pages will register onClose() events to monitor when users leave their site.  Thus, closing the tab will be a very strong signal to the web sites that their annoying ads are scaring all their users away!

For "behaving" content, we think it's reasonable for a user to click on a tab and use the content's media controls to stop playback.  In this case, a Chrome tab mute control would be redundant.  This redundancy is bad since it can confuse users (e.g., to play a video and forget that a tab was muted days ago); and, based on experience, confused users often report unexpected behaviors as browser bugs, which would be a big distraction to the Support and Eng staff.

The best part for me is that is that even though this feature won't be built in Chrome for the reasons mentioned below, a proposal for a chrome.tabaudio API has been filed² which would give sound control to Chrome Extensions when reviewed and approved by the chromium team.

¹ http://chrome.blogspot.fr/2014/01/everyone-can-now-track-down-noisy-tabs.html
² https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kR1sUg6QOMJDE2c6jZgm15g1L89GuVx7HAGfcIqqbrY/edit

Source: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=3541
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18 comments
 
Too bad. It is so natural to put the sound off by an event driven by the end user.
 
This sounds like very careful, deliberate thinking. It's reassuring. How to educate users, however?
 
At first, I was thinking 'why?' but after reading and considering their argument, it makes a lot of sense. It's not Chrome's fault the tab is playing audio therefore it isn't Chrome's responsibility.
 
I doubt it would cause much confusion if the audio indicator was changed to a muted indicator when a tab is muted. Honestly I found it confusing that it didn't mute on click because in every other application that symbol indicates a volume control.

The convenience of being able to mute from the tab bar, and more importantly on a tab-by-tab basis in a consistent way, would be such a useful feature I can't imagine who wouldn't want it. Our operating systems give us this ability to control audio on a per-application basis. If Chrome wants to be the "OS of the web" it should at least do the minimum to emulate this functionality.
 
Their explanation is a good explanation, however I go to sites that if I were to close the tabs that were playing audio, I would not be able to make some money, as their is no way to mute audio of a player that never shows up so no ability to control the audio, and it happens ALL the time. With that site I have made over $600 on, and basically I have to have my sound mixer open to mute the whole browser when it does that.
Although my case is a very specialized one, and because it's so specialized having a feature built for that is kinda a waste, but as +Cory Schmunsler  mentioned it would have confused me that it didn't mute the audio if I had not read about this feature being worked on Months ago when it was in the developer channel. So, I would like them to debate it more to be honest, but if they don't I wouldn't hold it against them.
 
+Nigel Hall The misbehaving website case is a red herring. I'm saying this would be a useful feature period, not just a fix for a single specific problem.
 
User experience has to be the best. The average user is not a soldier to fight sites producers. All these noisy sites are often the fact of advertising.
I definitely think the good point of view is to give the best experience to the end user that you build a browser, an OS or an Internet site.
So this decision is not the best for me.


 
+Aleric Johansen sounds like you're visiting crappy ad sites on purpose in order to fund them in hopes of receiving a little money. 
 
+Luke Larris  It is kinda crappy, but they have been around for a while, and I have received a good amount of money from them, I bought my 1st Solid State drive using the money I got from them. Plus a bunch of games on Steam. Swagbucks. When I 1st started with them I didn't believe that I could make anything real from it, but that quickly (well not really, I started the account in 2010, but didn't start using it majorly till 2012) that you could get stuff.
The point that I am saying is there is players on certain activities that never show up, or take a while to show up, alot of the activities have the player controls, but some just don't load quickly, and Swagbucks links to all different kinds of sites, most I don't like, but there is a few I do. Not all content works right away in all websites, & sometimes it's not based on anything the human is doing, sometimes things don't load because of the internet connection that you have is slow or buggy. When I go to certain places to use internet, it's so slow of internet that the audio will play long before you see all the graphics popping up. It's not the users fault there, it's the internets. The United States doesn't have the best internal internet structure, proven by OnLive.
 
I find this explanation lacking. The browser provides a popup blocker. How is that different? the popup blocker exists due to misbehaving websites. Of course the browser is the 'police'. Who else would be the 'police' if not the browser? web security (cross origin blocks, mixed content blocks) is also an example of the browser (or the platform, but the browser is the platform) being the 'police'.
 
+Luke Nelson
nonsense. its "not chorme's fault" the page is opening all these obnoxious popops, and leaving these cookies, and trying to persist with warning notifications, yet the browser has no issue controlling those off the bat.

ist "not chrome's fault" this tab was written poorly so it crashed , so why do they not let that one tab spoil the rest of the experience in other tabs? because thats exactly what an unsolicited audio on one page does. it ruins the experience elsewhere.
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