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February 27, 2013

Chrome gets an audio icon to point out noisy tabs, so you can reload in peace

chrome audio throbber
Google Chrome will soon add an animated indicator to your tabs that lets you know which ones are playing back or recording audio. While it has the benefit of making it easier for you to pin down the tab that’s blaring Thrift Shop, it’s also wired to a more functional change in Chrome’s tab maintenance routine.

Behind the scenes, the new code will prevent Chrome from discarding tabs that are processing audio tasks in the background when it’s trying to free up memory. Right now, if Chrome becomes overwhelmed and needs to shut tabs down to create some headroom it may indiscriminately close your mood music. Google wants to make sure the good times keep rolling, however, so future versions of Chrome will monitor audio subsystem activity on a tab and mark them off limits. Other tabs will see their resources clawed back instead.

Eagle-eyed Chrome enthusiast Francois Beaufort noticed the change in the Chromium code recently, and the feature has already landed in Chrome Canary. Progress from Canary to Chrome’s more mainstream channels doesn’t always follow the same regimented 6-week release schedule, so there’s no telling when the audio throbber might pop up on the dev channel build. Once it does, however, you’ll only have to hunt for the favicon with the animated EQ to track down rogue audio tabs. It’ll be way more convenient than trying to guess based on titles or clicking through every tab manually until you spot one with a pause button on the page.


[via Geek]