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9 YouTube apps to supercharge your video watching

Alphr logo Alphr 30-11-2015 Alan Martin

If there’s one thing Google prides itself on, it’s keeping things simple. Back in 2008, then-employee Marissa Mayer wrote a blog post explaining how the company received short, cryptic emails if the number of words on the Google homepage was creeping up. Although YouTube is a more complicated beast, it’s still pretty self-explanatory. You look for videos, you watch the videos. Simple, right?

Well, it doesn’t have to be. Here are nine YouTube apps – neat tools, sites and extensions – which will change the way you use YouTube… for better or worse.

1. Find videos that literally nobody else has seen

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Yes, everyone has seen the video of the dog with the GoPro camera now, but with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute, not every piece of film will be a hit. How do you find videos with nobody to promote them? That’s what PetitTube is for.

Visit the site, and you’ll be presented with a random video from YouTube. I can’t vouch for its quality, or that you’ll not instantly regret the time spent on it, but I can guarantee you’re the first person to see it. And who knows, maybe you’ll uncover the next viral sensation…

2. Switch out the comments

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It’s pretty much objective fact that YouTube comments are just the worst, but I for one have spent more time confirming this than I’d like to admit. There are two options here, both excellent in their own way.

The first is AlienTube. If the video has featured on Reddit - which there’s a good chance it has if you’re watching it - then the comments can be instantly replaced with the slightly higher class of discussion you get from the self-proclaimed ‘Front Page of the Internet.’

Or, to remind yourself of the futility of comment culture, Herp Derp for YouTube - another Chrome extension - changes every comment to ‘HerpDerp’. I promise you, you won’t be missing out on much.

3. Ping you when new videos appear

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Picture the scene: you really want to rewatch an old cereal advert from the 90s, but a YouTube search comes up empty. Don’t waste your time checking back daily - sign up to Video Alerts, and get a notification as soon as another 30-something breakfast enthusiast uploads it.

Free version gives you up to ten searches, which should be enough for most people, I reckon.

4. Make YouTube social… with people you want to talk to

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Google would claim YouTube is already a social site, but as I hinted at before, it’s not filled with the type of people you necessarily want to hang out with, and in any case, discussion isn’t in real time.

Together Tube fixes this. Make private rooms where you can watch videos with friends synchronised in real time. There’s even voting tools to show your disapproval at getting Rickrolled. Again.

5. Cut the music when YouTube plays Video of mute.fm mutes your music when watching videos.

Is there anything worse than the cacophony of blending YouTube video sounds with your own perfectly honed browsing soundtrack? Of course there is, but for the purposes of this, let’s assume there isn’t and welcome mute.fm into our lives.

No button pushing necessary: mute.fm fades out your music when the video starts, and fades it back in when it ends. No awkward silences, and a seamless browsing experience.

6. Get chords and lyrics from YouTube music

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You want to learn that song you heard on YouTube, but nobody has published the chords? Chordify to the rescue: search for music via the site, and it’ll play the YouTube video with its attempt at the chords, so you can play along in tune, if not in style.

7. Make a GIF of anything on YouTube

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Nobody bothered making a GIF of your favourite TV moment? Paste the YouTube link, isolate the moment, and let Giphy take care of the rest.

8. Search YouTube by the year

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If you’re stuck for search inspiration, YTTM offers a novel way of approaching YouTube: just pick a year, and the site will grab a video shot in those 365 days. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get a feel for the era, though it’s limited by how thoroughly people have tagged their uploads.

9. And finally… give any video the Benny Hill treatment

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Because every YouTube video is just better sped up, with a Yakety Sax soundtrack.


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