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More teens listen to music through YouTube than any other source, a Nielsen study found. So it only makes sense that there should be ways to make it easier to listen to YouTube through your browser. And that’s what Streamus does for Google Chrome.
Chrome already has YouTube Options to make your overall YouTube experience better, but Streamus is solely about the music. It has one mission: a mini music player based on YouTube, sitting pretty in your Chrome toolbar.
Seek And You Shall Find
Tap the Streamus icon and you get a dropdown tooltip which has two panes: the left is for search, the right is your playlist. Search is the backbone of YouTube and that’s what Streamus focuses on. Hit the magnifying glass and start typing for auto-updating, real-time results. I love that you don’t need a new tab open for this, like with JiggyApe .
One flaw here: It doesn’t have spellcheck. Instantly updating results take care of autocomplete to an extent (or at least I didn’t feel the need for it), but missing spellcheck is a big deal in a product that’s all about search. The earlier in a sentence that you make a mistake, the less likely you are of getting the right results.
But for the most part, Streamus works well. YouTube generally has any song you’ll look for. Still, it would be nice in the future to have other services available in the search, like how Tiny Cassette integrates YouTube and SoundCloud.
When you find the song you want (the result shows you a thumbnail, the full title and runtime), either hit Play to start playing it immediately or the Plus icon to add it to your playlist. It’ll work unless the uploader has specifically requested that his video cannot be embedded elsewhere.
Streamus keeps playlists simple. You can shuffle your songs manually or hit the Shuffle button to randomize the playing order, you can set them to repeat, and there’s a “Radio” option to keep playing similar songs when you’re done. I think this is done by picking songs that show up in the Suggestions at the end of a YouTube video, but I’m not 100% sure about it. It worked, but the suggestions weren’t good enough for me to recommend enabling this option—I’d say stick to your own playlists.
You can also save your playlists and edit them later, adding or deleting songs. It has that “it just works” charm of a great product.
Set It How You Like It
Streamus allows for some customization, letting you choose the quality of the video. It’s set on Auto by default, but if you want better sound, set it to High so that you get good stereo audio. There are also options for reminders to clear the stream or the playlist.
The extension also is keyboard friendly and lets you customize keyboard shortcuts. You can set hotkeys to open Streamus, play/pause, go to next or previous, copy the current file’s URL and much more. It’s really helpful!
Bonus: Omnibox Search!
Chrome’s Omnibox turns you into a power user if you use it right and the integration of Streamus is a welcome addition. So whether you have the extension open or not, just type “Streamus”, hit Space or Tab and search for the song you want to listen to. You will see results in the dropdown; unfortunately, there’s no video thumbnail this time. Go to the one you want and hit Enter to start listening to your tunes. Sweet!
Right now, Streamus is among the best Chrome extensions I have used. The only things I miss are spellcheck and a way to add entire playlists made by someone else. It’s a great extension if you like to make your own playlists, but there’s no social element involved. Perhaps also an option to tweet or share what I’m listening to would be nice.
Download: Streamus (Free) | Google Chrome
Would some missing feature be a dealbreaker for you? And I’m also curious to know how much of your listening happens through recommendations and how much through your own playlists. Comments are open!
Image Credit: William Brawley