Do you spend more than a few minutes watching videos on YouTube? Here are some essential extensions for Google Chrome that will add new and missing features to the YouTube website thus improving your overall YouTube experience.
1. Looper – This add a new “Loop” button near the YouTube video player and once clicked, the current video will play in an infinite loop until you hit stop. This comes handy if you are enjoying a music video on YouTube that you want to watch (or listen) over and over again.
2. Toggle Comments – Viewer comments on YouTube videos are annoying, they rarely add any value and are often filled with profanity. The Toggle Comments add-on will automatically hides the comments from all YouTube video pages (default behavior) but you can always press the “Comments” switch to bring them back.
3. Turn off the lights – This lets you watch YouTube videos in a distraction free environment. While you are on a YouTube video page, click the bulb icon in the Chrome address bar and everything but the video player will fade to dark – much like the cinema screen. You can also use the shortcut key Ctrl + Shift + L to toggle between regular view and dimmed background view.
4. YouTube Feed – If you have subscribed to multiple channels on YouTube and would like to be notified as soon as new videos become available in your subscriptions list, the YouTube Feed extension is for you.
YouTube Feeds adds a little button to your Chrome extensions bar and offers almost instant notifications whenever new videos are uploaded or liked by the channel owners that you are subscribed to.
With the YouTube Thumbs extension installed, you can hover your mouse over any video thumbnail on the YouTube website and it will auto-play the three thumbnails in a loop much like an animated GIF.
6. YouTube PIP – You are watching a video on YouTube but would simultaneously like to work on other tabs as well. Earlier I would “detach” the browser tab that contained the YouTube video and then used Always on Top to ensure that the video was always in the foreground but there’s a better way – YouTube Picture-in-Picture.
With YouTube PIP, the video detaches itself from the Chrome browser, docks to the corner of your desktop and always stays on top without requiring any additional programs. Thus you can work on other things while the video plays in the foreground.
6. YouTube Downloader – I am not sure how this extension made it to the official Google Chrome store but if you ever wish to download any YouTube video as an MP4 video or as an MP3 audio file, this will help you do that in one click [removed].
7. YouTube Ratings – If I were to install just one YouTube extension in Chrome, it would most definitely be YouTube Ratings.
This useful extension adds a color-code ratings bar next to every video thumbnail that displays the percentage of likes (green) and dislikes (red) of the corresponding video. Thus you can easily figure out whether a video is worth watching or not without having to open the video page.
Also see: The Most Disliked YouTube Videos
The YouTube extensions listed above are meant to perform exactly one task but there are several add-ons that can do even more.
I have tried three extensions in this category - Magic Actions, YouTube Options and Fancy Tube – they are extremely powerful and let you customize most parts of YouTube including the default playback quality, the size of the video player, they can block ads (including pre-rolls), they offer cinematic mode and more.
The extensions are versatile though the choices they offer can easily intimidate new users.
Also see: Master the YouTube Search Commands