Auto-playing videos are never a good ideas. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are all guilty of auto-playing videos but Twitter and Instagram still mute them while they play. Facebook on the other hand plays videos with sound by default and you have to turn it off. This is annoying behavior but given these are all social apps, it’s to be expected. A social app pushes content onto the user and this is just one more way to do it. For Google to opt a similar strategy is what’s concerning. The Google Search app on Android, and even Google on your desktops is gearing up to auto-play videos in search results. For now, it seem you can only turn off auto-play for videos in Google Search on Android. There’s no option available just yet for the desktop.
Auto-playing videos are starting to appear for some users in search results. It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for a video or not. If there’s a popular relevant video that matches your search it will appear in the results. It will also play automatically. This happens on both desktop and mobile however, it’s more of a problem on a mobile device because the video consumes mobile data.
The good news is, there’s a way to turn off auto-play for videos in the Google Search app. Open the app and tap the hamburger button at the top left. Tap ‘Settings’ in the navigation drawer. On the Settings screen, tap ‘Video’. Turn off the ‘Autoplay’ switch and you’re done.
To its credit, the Google Search app doesn’t auto-play videos if you’re using mobile data. There is an option that lets you keep auto-play for videos on but disable it for when you’re on a mobile network.
The Google Search for iOS app doesn’t have this setting. It seems that the auto-playing videos haven’t rolled out to the iOS version yet. iOS won’t be seeing this ‘feature’ any time soon. If anything, the Chrome for iOS app might start auto-playing videos before the Google Search app for iOS does. This is because Google Search is a feature on Android whereas on iOS, it’s just an app that most people can do without. There is no real compelling reason to install the Google Search app if you already use Chrome for iOS. You cannot force Siri to use it, and likewise, it cannot replace Siri on an iOS device. Not even the custom feeds are compelling enough to make users install the app. Let’s hope when auto-playing videos start to appear in Chrome, there’s an off switch for them.