YouTube videos are shared across many social networks; Google+, Facebook, and Twitter being the most popular. Most social sites will allow you to view a YouTube video within your feed. It’s pretty much the same as viewing a YouTube video that’s been embedded on a website. The only difference is that you can’t go through the rest of the feed if you want to watch the video. ViewTube – YouTube™ for Social Sites is a Chrome extension that opens YouTube videos in a floating window within the same tab, allowing you scroll up and down the page without blocking the video from view. The window itself has more features than you normally have when viewing a shared YouTube video. For instance, you can see the full list of related videos, videos by the same channel, its comments and description. The window has two viewing sizes and a lights out option that dims the rest of the page.
After installing ViewTube, whenever you play or click the link to a YouTube video shared on a social network, it will open in a window that can be dragged and repositioned anywhere within the tab.
Along the top of the window, there are three buttons; the film strip button to enables lights out or ‘Cinema Mode’, the maximize button increases the size of the window, and a close button. There are the usual media controls for the video with buffering and volume control. You can log in and like/dislike a video or leave a comment. Below the player are four tabs for the Description, Comments, Channel and the related videos. You can interact freely with this window without interrupting your browsing and you can switch between tabs without effecting video playback.
The extension feels much more practical than those that allow you to preview links. Instead of providing you with short previews, it overlays a flexible, fully functional YouTube player within the tab. If you do all of your YouTube viewing through social media referrals, you might never have to visit the website ever again.
Although ViewTube works fine otherwise, we did notice a slight problem while testing the app with Twitter. It seems that if the link to a YouTube video on your Twitter timeline hasn’t been shared from YouTube via its own URL shortener, the extension fails to detect it and it is opened in a new tab like any other link.