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As great as YouTube is, there are a few things that could be better… and these websites and extensions fill those gaps till YouTube itself adds the features.
There are already plenty of tools to make YouTube better, from downloading videos to turning it into a floating player. But there are still some missing abilities. Like clipping a video, for instance, or searching text within the audio. Check these out.
1. Tiny.Video: Share a Section, Loop It, and Avoid Thumbnail Spoilers
Sometimes, you want to show a friend only one part of a longer video. And it would be terrible if that part is spoiled by the thumbnail, right? Tiny.Video is the app you need to make such sharing easy.
Sure, you can bookmark and share sections of videos through a URL trick, but that’s kind of cumbersome to do. Plus, it retains the thumbnails, which can spoil the whole point of sharing. Well, there are no thumbnails in Tiny.Video. And it simplifies how you select the part of the video you want to share, with a bar to set the start and end points.
Among its other features, Tiny.Video lets you make the playback bar invisible (so the viewer doesn’t know how much longer they need to watch), set a playback speed, put it on loop, and even start it as full screen.
There is no rehosting the video, and Tiny.Video removes comments, annotations, and related videos too. This is how all YouTube clips should be shared.
2. Hashcut: Clip and Annotate Any Video, and Merge Multiple Clips
While Tiny.Video is good and quick, the better clipper tool is Hashcut. Again, you can add the start and end time to make a clip easily, but there’s a lot more to it.
First, you can merge multiple clips from the same video. That’s not something you get often. So instead of a 5-minute video, you could make three 20-second clips of the most important parts. Merge the clips and it plays as one seamless video. And just like that, you shortened a long video into digestible size.
Second, you can annotate the video or any parts of it. Add text like you would with a meme, or even add emojis and stickers. It’s actually quite cool when you try it out.
The only downsides of Hashcut are that it requires you to sign up and that the videos are re-hosted on Hashcut. But that’s a small price to pay, right? Of course, if you absolutely want to protect your privacy, you can use no-signup anonymous online video editors.
And yeah, there’s a Chrome extension too if you want to speed up the process. But you can use the web app without the extension too.
Download: Hashcut for Chrome (Free)
3. Invideo for YouTube: Search Text in a YouTube Video
YouTube hosts several excellent speeches, lectures, and other talks. Invideo for YouTube is a Chrome extension that adds the ability to search text within the audio like pressing “Ctrl+F” anywhere else.
As the clip above demonstrates, Invideo is incredibly easy to operate. It uses the transcription of the video to lay out the text, and you can click any part to go to that timestamp immediately. You can also search within this transcription to find certain words, and use that.
While testing, we found that Invideo worked better for YouTube videos with their own subtitles than those where YouTube’s AI tries to “guess” the words. But generally, it’s fine for almost all videos on the platform, making it one of the best Chrome extensions for YouTube.
Download: Invideo for YouTube for Chrome (Free)
4. vdNote: Add Notes to Videos With Timestamps
YouTube is full of educational videos and lectures. A new app, vdNote, lets you add notes to any lecture you’re watching and share it with friends. Or well, non-lectures too, so that you can ask questions easily.
It couldn’t be simpler to use. There’s no registration here, so just add the URL to the first bar, and hit Enter to start watching. Then add your note to the second bar, and it will show up on the right, automatically timestamped. Here, you are free to edit the note as well. Once you’re done, share the link with anyone you want. Clicking a note will immediately have the video cut to that point.
5. Ilumu: No Ads, No Cookies, No Installation
The biggest annoyance with YouTube these days is advertisements. There is often an ad before, during, and after the video. It’s almost as bad as watching TV. And if that wasn’t enough, you should know that YouTube is tracking you all the time too. Ilumu is the simple solution to tackle all these problems.
The web app is like one of those wonderful YouTube URL tricks. Change “YouTube” in the URL to “Ilumu” and press Enter to be taken to a better version of YouTube, no installations or sign-ups necessary.
The Ilumu interface removes ads from the video, and stops YouTube from tracking cookies. It also instantly turns the video into full-screen mode. Finally, the video is put on loop, which is kind of cool if you’re playing one of your favorite songs.
To Fix YouTube Annoyances, Step Up!
Yes, YouTube is riddled with several problems at the moment. But if you really want a better experience, you need to actively interact to save YouTube from messes. If you can’t be bothered to do that, there are userscripts to deal with common YouTube annoyances too.