I am a great fan of YouTube – not only the video sharing site lets me view and download videos for free, I can also watch interactive tutorials, podcasts and increase my knowledge. There is no need to buy expensive DVD’s of music videos because most of the music videos are already available on the largest user powered video sharing site.
There are tons of browser extensions available for customizing YouTube the way you want. Following is a compilation of some of the best Google Chrome extensions for a better YouTube experience:
1. Auto HD for YouTube: The AutoHD extension for Google Chrome checks whether an HD version of the video is available and starts playing it automatically. Thus, if you want to automatically view the high definition version of a YouTube video, this extension will come handy. ( Note: You can use this trick to autoplay YouTube videos in HD –without an extension)
2. Turn Off the Lights : This extension completely fades the background to dark grey so that you can watch the video in a distraction free environment. Adds a “Bulb” icon at the end f the address bar, clicking the button brings back the usual YouTube video page. You can adjust the dim color and darkness level and the extension also adds a Fade in Fade Out effect while the video playbacks.
If you want a theatre effect for YouTube videos, this extension will do it.
3. Fast YouTube Search: This extension adds a quick YouTube search button at the right of your address bar. Clicking the button opens a pop up search box – you can type in keywords and search for YouTube videos without having to visit YouTube.
The extension can be used from any page because the search results are loaded on a new browser tab.
4. Auto Replay YouTube Videos: This Extension adds an “Auto Replay” checkbox on the YouTube video page. If you want to replay or loop the YouTube video, select the checkbox and sit back. The video will be auto played endlessly, however you can also select to loop a portion of the video as well.
5. Stop YouTube Autoplay: This extension will make sure that a video does not starts playing automatically. If you have opened a lot of browser tabs and suddenly a video starts auto playing, it can be difficult to locate the tab playing the video.
The neat feature is that the extension does not stops auto buffering of the video, which makes it very useful. You can open a YouTube video and navigate to some other page – wait for the buffering to finish and then watch the video without any disturbance or playback problems.
6. YouTu.be copy: This extension makes it very easy to quickly generate short URL’s of any YouTube video. While watching the video, simply click the icon and the video URL is shortened and copied to Windows clipboard.
The short URL is of the form of http://youtu.be/XXX and you can share the video on Twitter and Facebook directly from the YouTube video page.
7. See the Lyrics of a YouTube Video: This lyrics plugin for YouTube displays the lyrics of the currently playing video in a sleek on click window.
This extension can be very useful when you are watching a music video and want to sing along the song.
8. Expand a YouTube Video: This chrome extension maximizes the video to fill the entire browser window. This is actually better than the full screen mode because you can access your browser’s navigation along with the video options at the bottom. You can also include to choose the quality level from small, medium, large, 720p and 1080p.
9. Opinion cloud: Popular YouTube videos consists of hundreds of comments and it’s often very difficult to read them at a glance. Thanks to opinion cloud extension for Google Chrome, reading comments on YouTube video pages is now much more simpler.
The extension helps to retrieve important comments from a comment stream by generating a word cloud. Clicking a word from the generated cloud, shows the comments containing that word. It’s a great way to sort out positive and negative comments of a video and read those you want. If you want to completely remove the comments from a YouTube video page, use No YouTube Comments extension.
10. YouTube Options: This extension is a mash-up of some useful options which you may like to try. This includes disabling annotations in videos, get rid of the in video advertisements, choosing video resolution and pretty much more. This extension can also modify the video pages in bulk – you can get rid of the entire sidebar, header, comments and matte the background with a color of your choice.
Another similar extension is MyTube, this extension provides smart video buffering, plays the video only when buffering is complete. Recommended for users using a slow internet connection.
11. Popular Videos: This extension lines up all the popular videos according to YouTube locale. If you want to have fun, this extension lets you play multiple videos at the same time on the same browser tab.
Perfect when you want to kill your time and randomly view popular YouTube videos.
12. YouTube Notifications: This extension remembers the videos you have watched in the past and stores them in the “browsed videos” column. This feature is a huge timesaver when you want to relocate the video you had watched the other day and don’t remember the name or can’t find it by searching.
Another unique feature is the “Subscribed channels” column which notifies you when new videos are available in your subscriptions.
13. See rating in Search results: When you search for a video at YouTube, you are not shown the user ratings on the search results page. You have to click a video and then see the ratings, which is tiring if you have large number of videos to consider.
This extension lets you see the video ratings directly from the video search result page.
14. YouTube Video Downloader: Finally, the video downloader extension for Google Chrome. This extension lets you download any YouTube video in FLV, Mp4, 3GP and MP3 formats. You can choose the Mp3 link to download only the audio portion of a YouTube video.
Though the above extension is not an official one – it’s the most useful because you can download your favorite videos and watch them offline. (also see: Browser bookmarklet to download YouTube videos)
What are your favorite Google Chrome extensions for YouTube? Please share your ideas in the comments section.
More YouTube Tips and tricks you must read: