The Google Chrome team is currently working on a feature that identifies Chrome tabs that are currently playing audio via an animated indicator on the tab that is broadcasting. According to François Beaufort, who first spotted the feature, the purpose of the new tweak is to exclude these tabs from those Chrome discards when memory runs out. In other words, when Chrome detects a tab playing audio, it won’t discard it when memory becomes scarce because it is possible that the user is listening to the audio (Internet radio, for instance) even though the tab is not active.
While the actual purpose of audio indicator is to help Chrome better track active tabs so that it doesn’t accidentally kill audio the user is listening to, the real benefit for users is that it will allow them to identify tabs that automatically play music in the midst of a browsing session.
Auto-playing ads or websites with embedded music is a real problem when you have countless tabs open. It’s impossible to tell at a glance which tab is playing audio, because the audio player might not have a visible UI, in the case of background music. There are extensions such as MuteTab that tackles this annoying issue. Thankfully, soon you will be able to identify the offending page via the native audio indicator feature in Chrome.
Reportedly, the feature is already in the latest Canary build of Google Chrome as well as in Chromium.