You're probably familiar with the experience of having your internet browsing rudely interrupted by audio blasting out of one of your browser tabs, usually accompanied by a video or advert that's decided to start playing in the background.
Well, Google Chrome engineers are preparing a feature that could save your eardrums and leave your Spotify streaming interrupted. Chrome (like most modern browsers) already lets you mute specific tabs, but future versions of the software will let you silence specific websites for good as well.
The new feature was announced by Google's François Beaufort (opens in new tab), though it's still in an experimental phase. "This will give you more control about which website is allowed to throw sound at you automatically," says Beaufort.
Silence is golden
The audio toggle appears in the website's info pane, which you can already see in Chrome by clicking the icon to the far left of the address bar (it might appear as an "i" symbol or as a green padlock depending on which page you're on).
That pane already offers toggle switches for camera permissions, pop-up windows and so on, and will soon offer a mute option as well. If you want to try it out straight away, you need to install the experimental (and buggy) Canary version of Chrome (opens in new tab), and use the "--enable-features=SoundContentSetting" switch when you launch it.
Whether you need to quieten down some aggressive advertising or your social media channels, the new toggle switch should improve the experience of surfing the web for users. There's no fixed timescale yet for the feature appearing in the stable version of Chrome - it will have to graduate to the developer and beta editions first.