Chrome Now Automatically Pauses Flash Content That Isn’t ‘Central’ To A Web Page

Auto-playing Flash content can drain your laptop’s batteries (and, if it’s an auto-playing ad with audio, get on your nerves). Thankfully, Google has now partnered with Adobe to keep Flash on Chrome in check. Starting with today’s release of the latest Chrome desktop Beta, the browser will now automatically pause Flash animations that — in Google’s words — “aren’t central to the webpage.”

Ideally, Google will pause the Flash content it thinks isn’t important right now and still let you keep watching that video you actually wanted to see. In case it gets it wrong, you can always click on the wrongly paused content to resume playback.

2015-06-04_1221Until now, the only two options Chrome offered were to allow all plugin content or to stop all plugins from running automatically.

Google argues that this update will “significantly reduces power consumption.” It will also stop annoying auto-playing videos from starting in the background and startling me. In my (brief) tests, the feature worked as advertised and happily blocked a number of Flash ads on the CNN and New York Times article pages from running in the background, for example. Given that a lot of this Flash content comes in the form of ads, though, this is definitely an interesting decision on Google’s part.

This new feature is now available in the Chrome desktop beta channel. Google says it’ll roll out to everyone soon.