You can no longer mute a tab by clicking on the speaker icon as Google has removed Tab Audio muting UI control flag from Chrome 71, the flag is still available though for use in Chrome 70 version.
Chrome’s Tab Audio Muting UI Control Flag Removed
The flag that existed for last four years has bitten the dust, like other flags it’s disappeared, but this one lasted for a longer time than other flags.
For uninitiated, to mute a tab (sorry Chrome now allows to mute sites, not tabs) you’ve to right click on the tab and select ‘Mute Site’ option, with the Tab Audio muting UI control flag enabled, you just need to click on speaker indicator, that site will be muted,
Here is what Chrome developer, Peter Kasting said when they added the flag in question to Chrome.
“I’ve heard several times that people liked the audio indicator we added to Chrome tab, but though they could click it to the tab in the question. As of last night, there is an experimental flag to provide such an UI”.
Google has written off the requests to natively offer tab mute control saying they’ve to police the content if they do that, instead, they suggested users enable experimental Tab Audio mute Control UI for that purpose.
“After much debate, we decided not to proceed with a tab mute control, as this crosses very important line: If we provide Chrome controls for content, we’re implying that Chrome should take a responsibility to police content” and a bug submitted to allow to mute/unmute a tab’s sound when clicked on sound activity icon, has been marked as WontFix.
The flag has been removed, what alternative Chromium team suggest to users now? Switch to another browser?
If you’ve relied on that flag to mute tabs in Chrome, you now need to do this from now onwards: right-click on a tab playing music and select ‘Mute Site’.
Firefox lets you mute tabs with a single click
On the other hand, Firefox allows to mute noisy tabs with a single click and you can use Alt+M shortcut on Windows for the same without the need to play with about:config settings, do you switch to Firefox for this?
Unlike Firefox, Chrome doesn’t allow you to mute a tab by clicking on the speaker icon, it is possible with the flag which no longer exists in Chrome flags page in version 71.