Since the invention of tabbed browsing, a constant annoyance for many users has been the sudden burst of an advertising jingle, music or speech from a video clip somewhere in the browser.
With a dozen or more tabs open at once, finding the source can take time. Google's Chrome browser solves the problem with a new feature in its latest beta, which adds an audio indicator to highlight offending tabs.
Building A Better Browser
There have been undeniable improvements in browsers in recent years, including better detection of insecure or dubious sites. But the ability to have many sites open at once has brought both pain and joy to users.
The typical scenario of having some news sites, personal content and work-related tabs open is both common and acceptable, until one of those tabs starts playing unsolicited audio from a video "news" item or ad.
Chrome's new icon helps find tabs making unwanted noise
There have been plug-ins and other features to solve this problem, but until now I can't recall a direct feature to benefit all users. Chrome is first out of the box with the latest 32.0 beta version, which now shows a small audio icon on any tab making a sound. The same feature applies an indicator to any tab showing a site trying to use your webcam, or sending content to your Google Chromecast device.
Chrome Gets More Polish
Chrome claims more than 50 percent market share, according to 2013's Browser Stats. With regular beta updates that feed through to the release version, Google is continuing to refine the experience. Additional improvements include a new look for Windows 8 when running in native tile mode, blocking of files known to contain malware and the usual performance improvements.
You can download the beta version, but remember stability isn't guaranteed. So you might want to wait until the updates hit the official releases, which will likely occur in the next few weeks. Will Internet Explorer and Firefox follow suit with similar options to isolate sounds?
Will site builders and marketers stop adding unwanted sound to sites as they see users closing pages down faster now they know where the sound is coming from? From a user perspective, that would be a welcome change.