Google was once the scrappy little search engine that could. Now it’s a business juggernaut that dodges billions of dollars in taxes. It’s slowly buying up every smaller property it can get its hands on, and fighting monopoly and anti-trust issues. Very likely, by saying that, we jeopardize our own search ranking, because Google also runs algorithms that filter out content that doesn’t serve its cause of world domination. It also tracks our movements online and monitors our emails. The ads on this website come from Google’s Adsense program. Google also owns YouTube.com, the video streaming service you’ve heard of, unless you’ve been living in a survivalist cult for the last fifteen years.
As concerns like Net Neutrality come into the modern consciousness, and more people are looking to protect their privacy online, a flood of internet users have chosen to stop feeding Google’s coffers. They are looking for better, safer search engines like Duck Duck Go, and avoiding Google properties, such as YouTube. If you’re one of these brave souls seeking to shake off the shackles of corruption, and hoping to find a YouTube alternative, here’s the 10 best video streaming options for you.
Subscription Service Note: Some claim that Netflix and Hulu are appropriate substitutes for YouTube. Generally speaking, we sought out social services where users could upload their own material and post it to the site. We also prefer free options, rather than the paid subscription that comes with Netflix, Hulu, or other costly services. Besides, even in that survivalist cult, you’ve heard of Netflix.
Old Hand: Vimeo has been around longer than YouTube, and operates the same basic way. You can upload, download, and watch videos. It monetizes the website by offering subscription plans which provide enhanced privacy, security, additional video player options, and various other goodies. By using this business model, you don’t need to endure advertisements that play before, after, or during videos. There’s still a free choice that provides full access to the site, so there’s no need to worry about payment. Though Vimeo does some minor traffic tracking, it’s far less invasive than Google’s, and easier to protect against.
Underground: Another streaming option that has been around as long as the All-Powerful ‘Tube, DailyMotion has gone through several iterations. It formerly had a loose copyright policy, and included some soft-core adult content, but has since moved over to a more user-centric makeup. It’s a little on the gritty side, providing channels that are more raw and informative than much of the cute kitten schlock found elsewhere. Though, there’s plenty of gags, adorable animals, and whatever else users feel like sharing.
Unknown: Flickr is known as a photo sharing site, primarily, but with the purchase of YouTube by Google, it has sought to expand. Videos can be uploaded and browsed the same way as with photos, and are similarly moderated. You’ll need to sign up, or sign in with a Yahoo account, but can then access whatever has been shared. Search can be dicey and the video player is basic at best, but it overall works like a YouTube meets Instagram meets Pinterest site, which is handy for those who don’t know what they’re looking for.
Music Lover: The name is an odd abbreviation for “video evolution,” and the aim is to be a blend of Spotify and user-directed MTV. You won’t find much here besides music videos, but those are all high quality, and separated by a branching organizational structure that allows you to discover new artists as much as listen – and watch – old favorites.
Warts and All: If YouTube is the glitzy Upper East Side, Metacafe is more like the rich playground of Hell’s Kitchen or Harlem. Significantly lower rent prices, but a lot more personality, you’ll find all kinds of weird viral offshoots that would disappear in the maw of YouTube. A little more moderation wouldn’t hurt, and the video quality could be improved, but it’s funky like beat poetry. Wait, no. It’s funky like something good. Like George Clinton.
The Internet Archive
Time Suck: Want to see what YouTube looked like back in the early days? Maybe find some stuff that has otherwise disappeared from the mainstream consciousness? Perhaps you just want to recount what videos were like before streaming reached the zeitgeist. Any of the above and so much more applies to The Archive. It’s a deep, dark place that logs as much of the halcyon internet days as possible, with all kinds of weird, wicked, and unforgettable stuff. If you think a 6 hour YouTube hole is bad, you haven’t experienced the up-all-night information barrage that is TIA.
Guilty Pleasure: Based out of Hong Kong, 9Gag is only beaten by Twitch for sheer juvenile humor. It’s also the most likely to eclipse YouTube. While Twitch users can sometimes edge into cruel commentary, hate speech, and personal attacks, 9Gag strives to be pure fun. Stupid human stunts abound, adorable animals doing hilarious hi-jinks are around every corner, and through ever click is something that might disgust or tickle you. It’s a madcap game show where you might not always want to know what happens next.
Something Old: Consider Crackle to be like browsing a Blockbuster Video, for those who know what that means. It’s a free service with a deep catalog of older films and B-Movies (or C- in some cases) and TV shows. Built for traditionalists, or those who want to catch up on stuff they missed from bygone years, it’s more “Netflix Lite” than YouTube.
Long Form: Instead of trying to hop on the viral trend of people getting hit in the groin, SnagFilms tries to make true art. A collection of documentaries and independent films that is arthouse cinema at its best, SnagFilms is the motion picture MOMA, while YouTube is more akin to Las Vegas. There’s no user content, making it the Indy streaming option.
Game On: As a concept, Twitch doesn’t sound terribly interesting. The basic conceit is that you’re watching someone else play video games. This makes it great for the gamer niche, but isn’t nearly as stimulating as most video sites. Twitch has begun to branch out, now streaming live broadcasts of the Overwatch League, but its focus is game focused. Many complain that the service is overrun with the sophomoric antics of gamers, with many users promoting racism and violence, as well as anti-female sentiments.