Tubetrail makes your YouTube watching social

Want something a little more versatile than YouTube's own video-watching tools? Check out Tubetrail, a service that makes your viewing history more social.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
Back in early 2007 YouTube released Active Sharing, a feature that keeps an eye on what videos you're watching and shares that information with other users. One thing that's missing, however, is a way to see that list outside of YouTube, something that's been remedied by a new service called Tubetrail.

Tubetrail does not depend solely on Active Sharing to figure out what you're watching. Instead you have to install a small browser extension (currently Firefox only) which keeps an eye on your viewing habits. Videos you've watched are then presented as embeds on a large, colorful grid where your friends can go and watch what you've been viewing in reverse chronological order.

As an added benefit, you can add a special comment that will only show up on your Tubetrail page, and not as a user comment on the YouTube video page. These show up underneath the videos, and are denoted with a large exclamation point on the grid.

The service has two weaknesses, which I think if addressed would make it more compelling than YouTube's offering. One of those would be to create an RSS feed out of items you've watched, which would let others view your picks, and see your comments from someplace other than your Tubetrail page. Second, if I'm going to install an extension that provides little utility outside of YouTube's built-in sharing tool, have it work on YouTube videos that are embedded off YouTube's site--something which is not currently offered.

Tubetrailing turns YouTube watching habits into a giant grid that can be surfed off YouTube's own pages. CNET Networks