YouTube is great for finding videos but often, you aren’t looking for just one or two of them to watch. For many users, the playlist feature provided by YouTube is a major reason why they visit the world’s largest online video repository. These playlists can be of songs, TV series, tutorials, or just some videos on the same topic. They help group similar videos together and make it simple to queue them for playing. That’s all taken care of very well by the service itself, but what if you have queued up a playlist of some music videos for playback in the background, and would like to take a glimpse at the title each time a new video starts playing, without having to switch to the browser window or the YouTube tab for the purpose? Now Playing Pop-up for YouTube is a Chrome extension that provides desktop notifications for just that. The extension is straight-forward and has a singular purpose. The notification appears when the next video page loads, so the video doesn’t even have to start buffering or playing for you to see the notification.
Installation is a no brainer; add it to Chrome and head over to YouTube. Play a playlist, or even a single video, and you will start seeing the notifications.
There are a considerable number of similar extensions available that notify you when a video starts to play, but this one is meant to work for playlists as well. As its name implies, this extension works for YouTube only. While it is useful at what it does, it’s functionality is terribly limited. Unless it’s music that they’re listening to, most users will have the tab active in a window and would already be watching the video.
We’ve covered a similar extension for Pandora called Pandora Desktop Notification in the past, that serves the exact same purpose for the popular internet radio service. The similarity between these extensions is – in a sense – what’s wrong with them; a single extension that can support desktop notifications for both YouTube and Pandora, and preferably other similar services like Grooveshark, Last.fm and Rdio etc., would be far more useful.
If the developer wants to keep the extension exclusive to YouTube, they can consider providing additional controls in the popup that would allow users to pause the video and resume playback. Unlike extensions that give you the option to control video playback from a button next to the URL bar, the notification would be far easier to use since it is omnipresent and wouldn’t even require Chrome to be active for the purpose.
If you’re looking for a simple notification system for YouTube, Now Playing Pop-up for YouTube will do the trick for you. For extensions that give you better control over YouTube, you might want to give Video Controller or YouTube Volume Controller a try.