I don't know about you, but whenever I visit YouTube these days, I want to scold it like a child: "Clean up your room!" Because, seriously, what a mess.
Between the ads, the sidebar, the tools, the related videos, and especially the comments, YouTube has become a cluttered eyesore.
Thankfully, there's Cleanr, a browser extension that strips away all of YouTube's clutter. Specifically, it cleans the page of everything but a large video window. Now you can focus on what you wanted: the video.
Cleanr is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, If you're a Chrome user, you'll need to follow the brief tutorial video on the install page; because this isn't a Google-approved extension (wonder why?), you have to install it manually with a little dragging and dropping.
It would be nice if the developers included a toggle switch to turn off Cleanr so you could, in fact, access things like sharing tools if you wanted. But the only option is to go into settings and disable it, which is kind of a hassle.
I think Cleanr's real value lies in removing YouTube's comments area, which, more often than not, is filled with obnoxious and/or offensive comments. If you have kids, this is a great way for them to experience YouTube without all that inappropriate stuff.
There's also an iOS version of Cleanr that works similarly to minimize clutter, at the same time adding Facebook/Twitter integration and access to YouTube subscriptions and playlists.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PCWorld Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.