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Google ruins search for select users with autoplaying videos

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Image: The SEM Post

For a select number of users, Google searches are about to become more annoying. The company is testing autoplaying videos in the Knowledge Panel of search results, as spotted by SEM Post.

For most users, Googling keywords with a strong video component — such as music videos, TV shows, or movies — will typically bring up a video thumbnail on the right side of the results. You have to click it to play the video, but in a small test, some users are seeing these videos start automatically. SEM Post says it saw the test for a number of search terms, such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” and “Justice League release date.”

Currently, featured videos have a Play button overlaid, indicating that users need to click to watch.

Thankfully, the videos do not have sound turned on by default. To hear the sound, users have to click the video within Knowledge Panel to bring it up in a light box. There are no pre-roll ads in these videos, though Android Police notes that a new autoplay setting in the Google app suggests a similar function is headed to mobile.

Interestingly, some of the videos are sourced from various YouTube accounts for movie trailers rather than the movie or show’s official distributor. As Mashable notes, with Google AdWords offering paid search results, the move could be an advertising play to monetize from content partners who can pay to have their videos featured. Google can then maximize plays by automatically airing it during relevant searches.

In general, though, the majority of internet users dislike autoplaying videos as they can be disruptive and eat up their browser’s RAM usage, so we’ll see if this ever makes it out of testing.