Extension Spotlight: SponsorBlock for YouTube
Have you ever been engrossed in music or a great video when YouTube suddenly interrupts your experience to inject an ad? It’s jarring and ruins the mood of any moment.
“It made me really frustrated,” extension developer Ajay Ramachandran recalls about the first time he experienced an intrusive mid-play ad. “I remember seeing comments on videos that would say things like ‘1:22 is when the [ad] starts’, and that sparked the idea for SponsorBlock.”
While there’s some clever technology underpinning SponsorBlock extension for Firefox, its true power is derived from an active user community that contributes to identifying each of the sponsored sections. If users stumble upon a video with mid-play ads, they can easily submit timeline information through the extension so the ad will be blocked for everyone else in the future. And to help ensure the seamlessness of the content blocking, users can also “downvote” blocked sections that don’t align well with the video. As a further check on quality, every downvote is manually reviewed for accuracy.
A new SponsorBlock feature offers the ability to skip different types of unwanted sections like intros, outros, and those incessant pleas to subscribe to the channel. Ajay says future plans involve developing distinct section categories that will allow users to submit labels for different parts of the video, in case you want to skip forward or back to certain spots.
The SponsorBlock extension for Firefox is one of the more original content blockers we’ve seen developed in some time. It’s a perfect example of the creative problem-solving potential of browser extensions. So give SponsorBlock a spin and enjoy fewer interruptions while you let loose for your solo living room dance party set to YouTube music.