A not so happy bear watching Youtube
Youtube is a great free source of information and entertainment that we’ve all used at some point.
If it’s free, then how does Google make money from it? Yes, you guessed it, ads. And the more videos you see, the more ads they show you, so more money for them.
If Google gets more money the more time you spend on Youtube watching videos, it’s safe to assume that that principle guides its design.
The radical solution to avoid that addicting design is to avoid it entirely, but there is still so much good information in there that it probably doesn’t make sense.
A good balance is using some extensions in your browser to see what you want to see without dozens of other videos already queued to keep you engaged so they can sell more ads.
1. Makes your subscriptions your homepage
Instead of seeing all the tempting videos arranged for you by the great and soulless algorithm, you can skip that and go directly to your subscriptions with this extension for Chrome or Firefox.
2. Remove recommended videos
If you’ve found a video valuable enough to spend 10+ minutes of your life with it, it’s wise to stop there, and if you need another video go and find it later yourself.
The problem is Youtube will recommend videos based on your history and other information Google has on you, like your location or your interests, so you keep watching.
There’s a solution for that. This extension called Unhook for Chrome and Firefox will remove the recommended videos.
3. Skip sponsored content
In order to automatically skip the sponsored portion of the video install this extension on Chrome or Firefox.
4. Hide ads
The uBlock Origin extension will hide the ads when you watch videos on Youtube and also when you’re browsing the web.
There’s a version for Chrome and Firefox.
5. Hide thumbnails
Hiding the video thumbnails is a bit radical to me, but if they become too tempting not to click on them, this extension for Chrome and Firefox will hide them for you.
With the flexibility that a web browser and extensions provide we can make Youtube design work for us instead of against us. Give it a try to some of these extensions, I’m sure it’ll reduce the time you waste on Youtube.
We should also consider how we can support the creators behind the channels we follow if we use these extensions. Something like Patreon or other alternative platforms are a good way to support them outside Youtube ads and sponsored content.