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Google Chrome Getting Audio Indicators To Show You Noisy Tabs

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  • Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swinferno (1212408) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:01AM (#43012601)

    This could actually be useful...hopefully FF will follow

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I agree, I hope it shows up in steam too which uses a similar kit for it's in-game web browser.

    • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:12AM (#43012625)

      Better yet, each tab should have an individual "mute" button, enabled by default. Nothing makes me close a tab quicker than unwanted noise.

      • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:38AM (#43012695) Homepage

        How about muting all tabs except the one currently open with the option of enabling/disabling any tab explicitely?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think this is the only reasonable solution...

          If I open 20 tabs, I don't want to mute 10. I just only want the current one...

          and I would love a mute button for the current one...

          • by P-niiice (1703362)
            Stop looking at so many cam sites dude. you only need one.
          • by v1 (525388)

            I agree with this approach. But I can think of two examples of when I would like to get sound from an inactive tab.

            1. when doing those LivePerson chats, that chime when a person replies. They can take minutes to respond sometimes, and I'm frequently off in another tab or window or even another app entirely and need to hear the alert lest I get the "hello? are you there? since you're no longer responding I'm hanging up" and cost me another 20 minutes getting through queue again.

            2. I frequently open a seri

        • by swilver (617741)

          Yeah, I've been wanting that for years, but never managed to find a plugin that does exactly that.

        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by bgarcia (33222)
          That would slightly interfere with using streaming music sites like Pandora. I open that up in a tab & move on to other things, leaving it play in the background.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            What part of "with the option of enabling/disabling any tab explicitly" is it you don't understand?
            Or is this some kind of weird I-have-a-five-digit-user-id-so-i-don't-even-have-to-read-comments-HURR-DURR thingy?

            • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Your.Master (1088569) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:09AM (#43013201)

              The part where you explain how selective unmuting isn't a huge pain in the ass? Whatever selective unmuting UI is created will have to be something fiddly, since background tabs don't have a lot of screen real estate and all the mouse buttons are allocated.

              Myself, I'd adapt by dragging those tabs into a new window, rather than fiddling with some control. Still, I think for a general audience, selective muting will be way more palatable than selective unmuting*. As a user, I don't expect Pandora to mute when I switch tabs and I also don't expect there to exist an "unmute" button, anymore than I expect it to mute when I minimize an application, or hit alt-tab, or something like that.

              With that said, tablets are causing people to adapt their expectations. I think that pisses people off fairly often, though.

              * you might even be able to justify having some buried config option for mute-by-default for those really desperate for that behaviour.

        • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:04AM (#43012925) Homepage Journal
          Thanks for making it harder for me to mix Beethoven and Lady GaGa, you insensitive clod.
          Da-Da-Da-DUHHHHH. . .'Pa-Pa-Pa-Poker Face'
        • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:18AM (#43012965) Homepage

          How about muting all tabs except the one currently open with the option of enabling/disabling any tab explicitely?

          I like this, but the problem I see is the unexpected suddenly blast of noise when you switch tabs--if the irritating people who use sound on their web-site to grab your attention know most browsers are "muted by default" their tendency will be to have a constantly looping message playing (braying) at maximum volume so that if you switch to that tab you almost certainly hear the message. Or they'll figure out how to discern if their tab is "muted" and wait to start the noise until you shift focus to that page and "unmute" it.

          All things considered, it seems unfortunate that web-developers can't just get the message: "NO WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR FUCKING NOISE!"

          • Ik i Choose to play a video. manually, in focus.i MIGHT want to hear the sound. In that case i do not want to check
            -video sound setting
            -Tab sound setting.
            -browser sound setting.
            -global sound setting.

            (it gets worse when playing in a remote virtual machine )

            I never ever want to hear sounds in ads. That is the second most important reason that i invest too much time in ad-blocking.

        • How about muting all tabs except the one currently open with the option of enabling/disabling any tab explicitely?

          Much of the noise can be avoided by allowing plugins only by clicking.

        • i was shocked when I learned was no mute function on either firefox or chrome a couple years ago when i first sought one out. i ended up having to go with flashblock on firefox, which was just kinda fixing part of the problem
        • by doom (14564)

          How about muting all tabs except the one currently open with the option of enabling/disabling any tab explicitely?

          This is a good idea, but how about we take it a step further, and prevent any tab from making noise, unless you explicitly enable it?

          Remember back when there was a difference between a computer and a television set, and computers were something under your control?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Better yet, each tab should have an individual "mute" button, enabled by default. Nothing makes me close a tab quicker than unwanted noise."

        Amen, brother. Dozens of times I woke up the whole house when I was surfing for an hotel and their page insisted on playing loud music when opening up their fucking Flash-page.

        Additionally it's usually done for a 800*600 resolution and unzoomable so that you can't read shit on a modern HighRes screen. And often they play songs that I'm sure they don't have the rights f

        • Amen, brother. Dozens of times I woke up the whole house when I was surfing for an hotel and their page insisted on playing loud music when opening up their fucking Flash-page.

          Additionally it's usually done for a 800*600 resolution and unzoomable so that you can't read shit on a modern HighRes screen. And often they play songs that I'm sure they don't have the rights for.

          Why is it that so many hotels and restaurants use that crap?

          Sounds like a golden opportunity to use the DMCA to make the web a slightly better place...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fragfoo (2018548)

        I find these ideas awesome, another thing browsers could is to color code tabs by cpu/memory usage or something. So you know which tab is slowing you down.

      • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mbstone (457308) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:01AM (#43013161)

        How about identifying noisy websites in Google search results?

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        The problem is that this is Google. The company that releases Android, has all the incentive in the world to integrate their products, yet does things like this:

        1. Google Talk does not have an option to sync between devices. I don't like 'ghost' half conversations if I was chatting with someone on my phone and I sit down at my computer. Even worse, when sitting at your computer you will discover that the google talk client, will not sync with the google chat plugin for gmail... on the SAME PC! I'll be

        • by snadrus (930168)

          1. I can seamlessly go between Desktop & Android Google Talk sessions. On the phone, it does a catch-up when I open it showing me recent messages quickly
          2. Google Voice SMS is awful, but Android lets you point SMSs to another client. Doesn't Voice have a setting to disable handling SMS?
          3. I just use Google Maps. If I need Satellite view, then it's available. Google Earth is a toy.

          • It seems I've been rated as a troll, it's a shame that Slashdot's moderation system works like that.

            For point 1: The main issue I have is that your conversations 'lock' to the device/platform you respond on. So I'll see a "Hey how's it going?" message on my desktop client, but because I responded on my phone, and then continued the conversation there, the desktop session never updates and everything beyond 'Hey, how's it going' only shows up on my phone. The same thing occurs on my desktop if I converse t

    • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rainmouse (1784278) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:29AM (#43012665)
      Im glad they came up with this rather than having Apple patent it.
    • by Eraesr (1629799)
      Yeah I think it's a great idea. I just hope it works beyond HTML5 implementations of audio and is also able to tell me if plugins are playing audio (like flash or silverlight animations).
      • by arth1 (260657)

        I have a suspicion it's only gong to work for a few select technologies, and perhaps just one or two OSes.
        There are so many ways to produce sound that it's hard, bordering on impossible, to catch them all.
        You can't even rely on the mixer, because you may bypass it (wmaudio, asio) or have a system that's so configurable in a convoluted 80s way that it's impossible to tell what it's doing (PulseAudio).
        So detection will likely be at the highest level, and limited.

        The question then is whether a 90% solution is

        • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Informative)

          by Eraesr (1629799) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:22AM (#43013271) Homepage
          Good point. Also, after I posted my message I clicked one of the links in the article and found that so far it appears to work only for the HTML5 version of YouTube, which makes me believe that this only works for HTML5 controls, which means that annoying flash ads with sound can still creep through.
        • by devman (1163205)
          Chromium runs each tab as a separate process. It is easy to identify which processes are using audio.

          In Linux you can easily identify individual Chromium tabs using sound by using `lsof | grep snd` . Try it. Open bunch of slashdot tabs and then open one youtube tab and play a video with sound then kill that PID, it should only kill the youtube video.
          • by arth1 (260657)

            In Linux you can easily identify individual Chromium tabs using sound by using `lsof | grep snd` . Try it.

            You're making the mistake of thinking that all sound has to go through the snd interface. /dev/dsp* is not uncommon (if you need OSS compatibility, usually for older games), and for pro devices, /dev/raw1394 is also used, usually routed through jack.

            Similar for Windows, where the user might be using asio drivers or wasapi to bypass the windows mixer and getting lower latency.

    • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ikaruga (2725453) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @07:04AM (#43012785)
      Useful? What an understatement. This feature is could potentially being a life saver for the porn addicts browsing websites that open multiple tabs with video/chat feeds in the background.
      • by fbobraga (1612783)
        +1 Informative!
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        I always wondered why FF insists on starting to play video on tabs that are in the background. It is so irritating that when browsing YouTube I always have to move to other tabs to pause videos (I often CTRL-click to open a video for later watching). Just not playing is much nicer. Just load that Flash thing, but don't run it unless it's in the foreground.

        • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Informative)

          by jones_supa (887896) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:46AM (#43013453)

          IE10 does exactly that. If you open YouTube videos to background tabs, they won't start playing until you activate the tab.

          For Firefox, I recommend installing the Flashblock addon [mozilla.org], which allows you to start Flash plugins manually by clicking them.

          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            I have that add-on, but YouTube is one of the very few sites that is on my allowed list as that's a site where flash is actually functional (yes, you read that correctly, "flash" and "functional" in one sentence). I got bored with having to click every time...

            Ideal for YouTube would be that the video would start loading (buffering) but not playing when the tab is in the background, so when I get to watch it, it's ready to go.

    • Cracked.com ran a photoplasty competition [cracked.com] a week ago on 21 web browser features we desperately need, this was number 21 on the list.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:09AM (#43012621)

    21 Web Browser Features We Desperately Need [cracked.com]

    How long has this been in development again?

    • by mestar (121800)

      This is not a case of science fiction predicting the future.

      This is a case of humor predicting the future.

    • by fbobraga (1612783)
      I NEED a "kill with fire" button in my browser - and an entry for the fire department in the bookmarks (or not)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Longer than 6 days I would bet.

      What they need is a fix to rid the world of all of these ridiculous, horrible "Slideshow" websites. 21 fixes? OK Give me a list on one page - maybe two if you want to increase your ad revenue. There's not much in Web 3.0 or whatever the fuck we call ourselves on, but it's horseshit.
      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        What they need is a fix to rid the world of all of these ridiculous, horrible "Slideshow" websites. 21 fixes? OK Give me a list on one page - maybe two if you want to increase your ad revenue. There's not much in Web 3.0 or whatever the fuck we call ourselves on, but it's horseshit.

        See the "Article View" up on the right side of the page? Yeah, that works for Cracked. Other sites, YMMV. Usually they have a "print page" link that does the trick, but not always.

    • I know a feature we need: an option to not allow the browser to open new windows in any situation. See, there is the standard pop-up blocker in every browser, but there is still some scripts which are triggered to open a new advertisement window when you click the current page, for example.
    • #22 AUTO DISABELE AUTO ADVANCE on slideshow.

      It does me no good as the page advances 1s after it slowly loads. No, I couldn't find a toggle, thanks for asking.

    • Re:Coincidence? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @11:34AM (#43014409) Journal

      That would have looked better if my browser had "turn slide show into one page" and "automatically unpaginate pages without forcing you to hunt for printer icon". On the other end of that spectrum we need, "turn disk thrashing page archives and continuous scrollers into paginated pages". Seriously.

  • by cpicon92 (1157705) <kristianpicon@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:13AM (#43012629)

    From TFA:

    Google Chrome Team is working on identifying tabs that play audio in order to exclude them from the list of tabs to discard when memory runs out.

    I hope they keep the indicator in the final builds, it will be useful for closing tabs with obnoxious sounds coming from them.

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @07:40AM (#43012867) Journal
      (Slightly OT) Like Slashdot? Not sure what was up yesterday, but I kept getting a (Swedish) ad on this site, one that expanded by itself even without rolling over it, and played video with (loud) audio. Great fun when idly browsing ./ during a conference call.

      I thought advertisers wised up about doing that that sort of thing in the last decade. Suffice to say I finally disabled ads on ./
  • Wouldn’t it be more useful to have an option to mute all background tabs by default?
    • by tofarr (2467788)
      A lot of people open music playlists on youtube / music sites and play them as background tabs - muting background tabs by default would annoy these people. (Unless there was some kind of white list you could add them to - but maybe that is overcomplicating the situation...)
      • Unless there was some kind of white list you could add them to - but maybe that is overcomplicating the situation...

        Not really - it'd be the same as scripting whitelists et al.

  • by etnoy (664495) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:33AM (#43012677) Homepage
    I remember this being discussed on the FF bugzilla years ago. It was seen as a very good idea, but the issue was (at least then) that most audio is played by Flash applets which the browser can't control, thus making it useless in most scenarios. I wonder how Chrome tackles the issue of plugin content playing audio.
    • by slart42 (694765) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:25AM (#43013293)

      I remember this being discussed on the FF bugzilla years ago. It was seen as a very good idea, but the issue was (at least then) that most audio is played by Flash applets which the browser can't control, thus making it useless in most scenarios. I wonder how Chrome tackles the issue of plugin content playing audio.

      Chrome uses it's own build of the flash plugin, which is not using the NPAPI plugin API, but Google's own Pepper API, which has support for Audio built into the API - and thus will handle playback of the audio through the browser, so the browser has full knowlegde and control of the audio.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If the browser is launching the plugin, can't it pass arguments to use a specific audio device? In that case, have the browser create a dummy audio device that routes to /dev/null unless it's specifically enabled.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      Insist on plugins that produce audio having a mute() function call, otherwise they end up on the browser's blacklist.

  • This feature was listed as #21 in http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_529_21-web-browser-features-we-desperately-need_p21/#21 [cracked.com] - and, from all of them, the one is actually easy to implement. Hell, users have been wishing this kind of feature since before tabs even existed! I can only wonder what took so long for any dev team.

    I hope Chrome gets this on the stable release ASAP, and Firefox and Opera follow suit, Explorer can go frack itself for all I care.

    • the one is actually easy to implement

      For HTML5 audio/video, yes. For Flash/Silverlight, not necessarily.

      • by mfarah (231411)

        the one is actually easy to implement

        For HTML5 audio/video, yes. For Flash/Silverlight, not necessarily.

        Considering most of the others are DWIM in nature, or at least require almost an AI working inside the browser, I'd say they're easy. :-D

    • by neminem (561346)

      Glad I wasn't the only one to think about that Cracked article when I saw the headline. I wrote in the comments there at the time - that that request was the odd man out. The rest were obvious jokes, requesting that the computer read your mind, time-travel, break the laws of physics, murder people, etc., but that one seemed completely reasonable, and should really actually be implemented. Now here we are, Chrome is doing it - wonder if they got the idea from the Cracked article. :)

      (I do also hope it gets in

  • ... implement a little 'penis symbol' so I know not to click that tab when someone else walks into the room?

  • by smash (1351) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @07:36AM (#43012859) Homepage Journal
    How about also DISABLING/muting audio in all inactive tabs?
  • For HTML5 stuff this should be a cakewalk. But for plugin content, they are separate processes that route audio directly to the OS/driver system, not the browser. Therefore the browser has little to no control over them.
    • by snadrus (930168)

      The OS (Windows Audio, Pulse Audio for Linux) publishes when a process connects to it, and allows per-process OS-side volume. Remembering an embedded process' PID to automate that interaction seems reasonable.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:56AM (#43013141) Homepage Journal
    I don't know that I have ever encountered such a site. Not that one couldn't exist, but I've never seen one. What am I missing out on?
  • Now all Google has to add is the hunt-down-and-do-violence-to-their-person button to find the designers who thought that music on opening was a good idea in the first place.

  • This would be a step in the right direction, but I wish website designers would stop the practice of having videos and audio clips play automatically when you load the page, without warning (it almost jolts me out of my chair every time). And the audio mute button next to the video isn't good enough, not after it's already scared the bejesus out of you.
  • Personally I'd like to have _all_ activity (audio, network, CPU, everything) stopped on every tab except the active one. If I want to be annoyed I can pop the tab into it's own window (or if someone cares to implement it - you could have per-tab controls).

  • I'd much rather see which tabs are taking CPU and other resources instead of audio. Sometimes I have to kill all my tabs one at a time to figure out which one was running some runaway JavaScript.
  • It is highly annoying to be in a meeting and have your laptop decide that now is the time to play that flash animation that it couldn't get previously. If you keep a lot of tabs open (as I do) it can be very frustrating to find the one that is doing the deed. This feature might even get me using chrome more than I do now.

  • by kwiqsilver (585008) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @02:27PM (#43016489)
    Even with AdBlock and the don't autoplay flash plugin, there are still occasionally pages that start playing something. And the three things they all seem to have in common are: really bad music, really loud, bad music, and they only seem to show up when you've loaded ten or more pages in the background.
    MuteTab tries to keep the volume down, or off, on other tabs, but there's only so much they can do with a plugin.

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