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Annotations Restored

Brings annotation support back to YouTube

Demonstration of Annotations Restored

On January 15 2019, YouTube decided to discontinue annotations. While the feature was frequently abused, it did have many legitimate use cases, such as games, corrections, and a form of commentary that could be toggled on and off. The removal left many older videos obsolete. Annotations Restored aims to fix this.

Installation

Google Chrome/Opera/Vivaldi/Chromium

Install from Chrome Webstore

  1. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/annotations-restored-for/daabpdmgkghdbfljmeahnplkcldbeefg

Install from source

  1. Download the latest release of the extension
  2. Go to chrome://extensions, enable the "Developer Mode" option in the top right and reload the page.
  3. Drag ext.zip onto the window to install it.

Firefox

Install from addons.mozilla.org

  1. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/annotations-restored/

Install from source

  1. Download the latest release of the extension
  2. Go to about:debugging#addons, click "Load Temporary Add-on"
  3. Select ext.zip.

Restoring annotations on old videos

If you were able to download your video's annotation data before it was removed, you can use the conversion tool to convert it into a format the extension can understand. The data put into the description must be in one of the following formats:

  • [ar_start]CONVERTED_ANNOTATION_DATA[ar_end] (example)
  • [ar_gist_start]username/gist_id[ar_gist_end]
  • [ar_pastebin_start]pastebin_id[ar_pastebin_end]

If you don't have access to the annotation data for your videos, you will need to wait for the data dumps from projects such as the YouTube Annotation Archive to become available, then check if the annotations for your video were saved.

Adding annotations to new videos

As I currently don't have access to a server to store new annotation data, it must be put into the video's description as described above, although you will have to manually create the data in the extension's format. If there is enough interest, an annotation creator can be made.

Documentation of the Annotations Restored format

Annotations Restored uses a different format than YouTube used for annotations. The Annotations Restored format is generally more compact than the YouTube annotations format.

Each videos annotations consist of a list of annotations. Annotations are separated by the ; character, with no spaces. Each annotation consists of a set of properties, separated by the , character, also with no spaces. Between each property and value is a = symbol. The properties for annotations are the following:

Required Properties.

  • bgc: the annotation background color in decimal form.
  • bgo: the opacity of the background as a decimal (range from 0 to 1, inclusive).
  • fgc: the annotation foreground color in decimal form.
  • txsz: the size of the text as a percent of the video height.
  • x: the x coordinate of the annotation in percent of the width of the video.
  • y: the y coordinate of the annotation in percent of the height of the video.
  • w: the width of the annotation in percent of the width of the video.
  • h: the height of the annotation in percent of the height of the video.
  • ts: the start of the time the annotation is displayed on screen in seconds.
  • te: the end of the time the annotation is displayed on screen in seconds.
  • tp: the type of the annotation. Possible values include text and pause.
  • s : the style of the annotation. Possible values include speech, popup, highlightText, anchored, and branding.
  • t: the text of the annotation. Note that text must be url-encoded (use %20 for space, etc.).

Optional Properties

  • as: the time in seconds to jump to within a video for an annotation with an in-video link.
  • at: the action type. Note that text must be url-encoded (use %20 for space, etc.).
  • au: the action url. Possible values include url.
  • aut: the action target. Possible values include new tab/window and current tab/window.
  • sx: the speech bubble point position x in percent of the width of the video.
  • sy: the speech bubble point position y in percent of the height of the video.

A ; character must appear after the final annotation.