This Creepy Chrome Extension Pauses YouTube for You When You Look Away

By Harrison Weber on at

Ever wish your computer would stare back at you while you hunt for that one good SNL skit on YouTube? If “yes” is your answer, do I have the tool for you.

FacePause is a Chrome extension that tracks your face as you watch YouTube. When the add-on notices you’re not staring directly at the screen, it automatically pauses the video, saving you from... what, we’re not entirely sure — multitasking? The extension mostly works as advertised, though when I tried it, FacePause occasionally struggled to detect if I was, in fact, paying attention, causing the stream to stutter a bit.

The project was created by German developer Mattias Hemmingsson to explore what developers can do with Chrome’s built-in FaceDetector API. “I don’t trust my webcam,” Hemmingsson writes, “so I have it covered and I don’t trust Youtube/Google so see this more as an experiment of Chromes new technology, than a product you’d use every day.”

To try it out, if you’d even want to do such a thing, add this extension, enable Chrome’s Experimental Web Platform features (via this url: chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-web-platform-features), relaunch the browser, pull up a YouTube video, click the slider that should appear at the bottom of your screen, and wearily grant access to your camera. Or, just watch a demo of it in action.

This is probably not something you’ll want to keep installed on your computer, but it’s an intriguing project nonetheless and amusing to try for just a few moments.


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