Streamus, a Google Chrome extension with 300,000 installs, has been removed from the Chrome Web Store. The program, which allowed its users to stream YouTube videos as background music while they surfed the web, appears to be down for the count after lengthy, tense negotiations with YouTube resulted in Streamus’ developer losing his YouTube API key.
25-year-old Sean Anderson built Streamus with the YouTube API and released it to the public in 2014. The extension’s simple interface was a big hit with users, and it garnered a fair bit of attention shortly after its arrival.
As Streamus became popular, Anderson found himself at odds with the YouTube Music team. In emails he shared publicly on the Internet, YouTube representatives expressed several issues with the extension, including the way it downplayed actual videos and the lack of ads it offered. Across a months-long process, Anderson attempted to comply with YouTube’s terms, but he ultimately could not reach an agreement with YouTube, and as a result his extension was taken down.
While Anderson has been extremely transparent about Streamus, mostly on its official subreddit, YouTube offered its own comment in the form of a general statement it provided to The Next Web. “We encourage people to leverage the power of our open API to embed YouTube videos in creative and innovative ways that comply with our terms of service,” said a site representative.
YouTube is understandably concerned about any potential violations of its terms of service, especially as it prepares for the public launch of its own audio service, YouTube Music Key. At the same time, Streamus was a neat little browser extension, and it’s a bummer to see it go. Perhaps it will eventually return in some form; Anderson has vowed that he isn’t giving up on it just yet.