Blog


Auto-shifting TubeShift

Posted

Howdy TubeShift users,

As I'm quite positive all the FireFox users noticed TubeShift was running an experiment with automatically sending users to an alternative video when it is available. This was done because from the server logs it looks like people were not noticing the notifications when they were available. A feature request had come in for automatic redirect to an alternate video when one is available and after asking some users about the feature it sounded desireable.

An initial version went out to FireFox only a few days ago and some improvements were made pretty quickly after. Unfortunately though this is very difficult to get right! So I have decided to leave the auto-shift feature present but disabled by default. If you would like to try out the auto-shift feature you can enable it by going into the TubeShift preferences and clicking the checkbox called "Auto-Shift From" for YouTube in the platform configuration matrix.

A part of implementing the auto-shift feature included two other features I think are going to be a big help. First the visual overlay is now animated which makes it quite a bit more eye catching. I think this will help a lot with people not seeing notifications about an alternate being available. The second feature that was implemented is allowing the users to control the sort order of the alternatives when more than one is available. Both of these features are still available and I think are very good improvements.

TubeShift version 0.0.17 will focus on improving communication to users especially in the realm of when new features are added and how to configure them. I'll also continue to work on improving auto-shifting.


Surprise Guest

Posted

This is certainly a very interesting and exciting milestone: TubeShift had a guest start using api.tubeshift.info which is offered as a public API. TubeShift is happy to help out and anyone may talk to the API to query the system but I'd like to know who is out there doing what and also, most importantly, don't lie!

Dear Guest,

Howdy! I didn't know how else to reach you besides break the API you were using.

You definitely are not submitting those requests with an accurate referer from https://tubeshift.info/! And the probability that your user agent is actually Mozilla running on Windows NT is nearly zero considering these requests are originating from a datacenter attached to the Internet. The IPs that are hitting my web services even have port 80 and 443 open to the entire Internet.

What are you doing? Why are you lying? Send me an email! [email protected].

Cheers!


Experimental FireFox Release

Posted

FireFox is going to be upgraded to TubeShift Extension 0.0.15.0 which is an experimental release to validate the new server implementation is working correctly before it goes out to all the browsers. There are not any expected issues but it is being called an experiment for a reason.

May 27, 2021 Update: The experiment was a success and version 0.0.15.1 is going out to all users. FireFox and Brave/Chrome are already updated. Microsoft will likely catch up with Edge in a few days.


State of the Shift: May 2021

Posted

Hello TubeShift community! This is the first State of the Shift which I'll write periodically to keep you informed about what's been happening with TubeShift and what you can expect to happen in the future. There have been some exciting developments though you can't always see them. Now that there are some users I've got some ideas for where the TubeShift browser extension is going and what else TubeShift might do to help people watch less YouTube.

User Experience

TubeShift does not spy or collect usage information right now so I don't have a lot of visibility into how well things are going for you. I do have some idea though and I've noticed something: for some people TubeShift is an effective tool and for the majority of people TubeShift isn't doing very much at all. From what I see in the logs there is an alternative video available for a YouTube video only about 1% of the time. That certainly is not very good.

What is even worse though is that the 1% of the time when an alternative is available the alternative itself is not used. I suspect this is because people are missing the notification that the alternatives are available. During initial user testing this was a big problem and I've already tried some things to help here. I've got some more ideas and some suggestions have come in from users.

Coming Soon

I have a few priority items to implement next in the TubeShift browser extension.

Automatic Redirect

This is a feature request that came in from a user. It is also a feature that the Watch on LBRY browser extension offers. This is also the ultimate way to make sure that people don't miss an alternative when it is available.

Submit Channel

I want to let users sign up for an account and then submit new channels to TubeShift. This way users that already have channels they like and know about alternatives for can have them available in TubeShift. Channels submitted by one user will be available for all users so this should really help improve the lookup success rate for an alternative video.

Channel Subscriptions

Are you subscribed to channels that were on YouTube but now aren't all available at the same place? That won't be a problem in the future because you'll be able to subscribe and follow channels at TubeShift. You'll be able to keep track of all your favorite creators with out having to check a bunch of different websites.

Growth

Here's a brief history of how TubeShift has grown since it's inception:

  • TubeShift went out for initial user testing in March 2021 and started out with a total of 3 daily users.
  • In April 2021 TubeShift was announced at Show Hacker News then had around 30 daily users.
  • In May 2021 Sarah Corriher published TubeShift Plugin Uncensors the Net which gave TubeShift about 500 daily users.

Google reports 447 users for Chrome (which includes Brave, Vivaldi and Opera), Mozilla reports 74 users for FireFox, and there is a small handful of installs in Edge.

There are around 600 unique visitors and 11,000 requests a day across both www.tubeshift.info (which is what people look at) and api.tubeshift.info (which is what the extension talks to).

Parting Thoughts

I'm very pleased with how TubeShift is progressing so far. We are certainly off to a great start with a lot more work to do. The browser extension so far is just the start. I'm really looking forward to creating many different tools to help people watch less YouTube.

Tyler Riddle - CTO TubeShift.info


Fixed: Microsoft Edge Bug

Posted

The Microsoft Edge Bug isn't a problem anymore after Microsoft updated the Edge Extension store to publish extension version 0.0.14.1.

There now aren't any known existing bugs that users will see or will impact operation.


Microsoft Edge Bug

Posted

Currently the Microsoft Edge browser is stuck at TubeShift Extension version 0.0.14.0 which has a minor user interface bug. The bug fix has already been submitted to Microsoft but is pending their review before it is made available to Edge users. It is expected that Microsoft will approve the bugfix by March 15, 2021 and probably a bit sooner.

If the TubeShift icon in the browser is clicked on and there are no results to display than the width of popup will be very narrow and the layout/flow of the user interface elements is very poor; an example image is provided below.

There is no decrease in functionality with this bug.


New Website

Posted

I'm happy to be writing this blog entry which will be seen for the first time on the new TubeShift website. With the new website not only comes this blog but also a system status page that contains information about the server health, TubeShift extension versions, and any unresolved bugs that people might be encountering.

This blog will get posts about new or upcoming TubeShift features, articles or videos produced by other people about TubeShift, and other random stuff.


TubeShift Thinking

Posted

Have you ever wondered what it looks like when TubeShift is thinking?