I don't know about you, but I usually have a lot of tabs open in my browser. When I'm researching on the Internet, I might create five to 10 tabs from links in a search result or from a single story to look at next.
If you've opened a lot of tabs very quickly, you know what happens next. You hear an ad start blasting through your computer speakers. Then you have to stop what you're doing and hunt through the pages you just opened to find the video ad and stop it from playing.
It's very annoying. Not only that, if you're on slower hardware, or a mobile gadget, a video ad makes pages load slower, or can drain your data plan.
If you have Google Chrome, however, that's about to change. Google has worked with Adobe on a new Flash feature that's very smart (Reminder: Most online video ads are Flash-based).
The new Flash feature lets Google Chrome automatically pause videos that aren't "central" to the page. For example, it will pause a video ad automatically, but will let a YouTube video play.
Of course, you can pause and unpause video manually if Chrome gets it wrong, but in tests it seems to get it right most of the time. Not only should that cut down annoyances, sites should load faster.
Right now, this feature is in the beta version of Chrome, but it should be arriving in an upcoming browser update. If everything goes well, you won't even notice it working.
If you use another browser, you probably aren't going to see this feature anytime soon. However, that doesn't mean you have to suffer with video ads.
I can tell you how to disable Flash in your browser entirely, or at least stop it from running automatically. It actually isn't as important anymore now that HTML5 video is used on YouTube and many other sites you want to watch.
Disabling Flash from running automatically also makes you safer from hackers who take advantage of security flaws in the Flash plug-in. Learn more about whether or not you still need Flash today.