Where’s that annoying music coming from? Chrome will tell you

Ads that talk… irritating jingles… annoying videos… strange beeps. Finding the source of a sound in a sea of tabs is difficult. Luckily, Chrome helps you hunt down that nuisance noise.

Since version 32, Chrome displays the tabs that make noise through the use of a small icon. It’s a telltale sign that points to noisy tabs and, although it’s not very visible, it’s not annoying either. It looks like this:

Finding a noisy tab in Google Chrome

The sound detection works with any source, whether it’s a Flash ad, a full screen video or the beep of a game – if a tab even so much as utters a peep, Chrome tells you via an icon. You can then choose whether you want to close the tab or decrease the volume.

For now, only noisy pages are shown in the tabs; it’s not possible, for example, to see them in the Chrome Task Manager. There are no options associated with this function. What you see is what you get: a speaker icon.

And if you want to stop the noise coming from a tab?

Google Chrome shows you which tab is making the noise, but doesn’t give you the option to block the sound. Luckily, there’s already a great extension called MuteTab, which further identifies noisy tabs, allowing you to block their sound.

MuteTab displays all the noisy Chrome tabs and allows you to selectively silence them

And how about other browsers, like Firefox, IE, and Opera?

This function is currently only available in Google Chrome. In Firefox, there’s been a petition going since 2009 to add something similar, but to date this still hasn’t happened – no one knows why.

People have wanted the same functionality in Firefox since 2009

Internet Explorer doesn’t provide any way of knowing which tab is making the noise. The only way to lower the volume is to go directly to the sound system mixer, but it’s something you can already do with any other application.

Hopefully Opera and Safari, which share code with Chrome, will soon add this useful feature, although their development follows different routes. In the case of Opera, you can install MuteTab, because Opera uses the same extensions as Chrome.

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