Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Click-to-Play in Chrome's about:flags -- I Highly Recommend It

Avoid loading plugins (faster page loads), unless you want to
For the longest time I have had this flag (lab, test feature, whatever you prefer) enabled.  Tonight, I finally put two and two together about what it actually does.

The click-to-play flag provides the user with the option (I think this is what I was confused about, before) to enable manual plugin blocking in the Wrench>Options (Settings if using Chrome OS)>Under the Hood>Content Settings>Plug-ins area.

What is a plug-in?

Plugins are pieces of software (type about:plugins in your address bar, aka the "omnibox," if you're using Chrome, to see which plugins you're currently running) that are like Christmas lights on a house:  Unless they're turned, on we're unable to see their light.  We could see them if we looked closely, even when they're turned off.  When they're turned on, they can take up substantial resources (think Christmas Vacation, here).  Imagine having your Christmas lights on, on the Fourth of July, e.g.  Sometimes plugins can just get in the way.  Which is why I like having the option to block them.

Click-to-play enables the user to manually unblock a plugin, or to white-list (always unblock all plugins on) certain websites.
I had previously been using the Flashblock extension to manually enable/disable Flash plugins (which run thin like YouTube videos and other media).

Click-to-play is shown here as the highlighted, second-to-last selection
I prefer the built-in click-to-play Chrome option over Flashblock because a) I assume it allows me to block more plugins than simply Flash plugins, b) I can avoid having yet another icon in my omnibox, and c) I presume the white-list settings are included or will soon be included in my synced Google Account data (I had to re-do every site on different Chrome builds, using Flashblock - I have at least three Chrome builds).

If you decide to give click-to-play a shot, please let me know what you think.

PLEASE NOTE:  I know this is available in the dev and canary channels.  I'm unsure about beta and I strongly doubt it's available in stable.  If you're confused about what this means, let me know, and I'll fill you in.


Mantas Pakenas said...

I also only discovered the true meaning of the flag like a month ago, and haven't looker back since. This is probably a killer feature for me now, and I'm not aware of any other browser having it, except Opera, which is still too inferior.

Btw, for me the white-list is synced across all my Chrome instances.

Cougar Abogado said...

I'm glad to hear I'm in good company, Mantas, thanks.

Yeah, I've really enjoyed it.

Thanks for letting me now about the cross-instances sync, I really appreciate that.

I also appreciate your commenting on the post in the first place, so thanks!