State of the Shift: May 2021

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