Last August we brought you a neat plugin for Google Chrome called ContexTube, which was built on a platform called Seevl. It worked like this – as you’re watching YouTube videos, the extension throws up a sidebar on the right that pulls in information about the band or group that you’re watching. That was it in a nutshell, at least.

Now ContexTube has been rebuilt from the ground up, including a new UI and feature-set, changed its name to Seevl and relaunched in public beta.

Alexandre Passant, Seevl’s CEO and Founder, was on hand to explain some of the changes since we last covered them. “At that time, Seevl was about serving up artist information and recommendations when a video was played,” he says. “That was very basic, and the UI was quite poor to say the least. We now have a completely redesigned product with a full-range of music discovery features, and a better integration with the YouTube UI – CSS, color schemes, effects, etc. For the UI, our goal is to provide something as neat as Rapportive for Gmail - a tool that user feel as being an integral part of their YouTube experience.”

The new Seevl

The artist widget is still present in this latest incarnation, but it is now in a different guise. Each video recommended through Seevl justifies it by explaining why it has been recommended, for example “John Smith used to be in that same band”. It also includes the Liner notes, giving access to artists’ biographies:

a12 Seevl surfaces new music on YouTube, based on artists relationships and friends recommendations

Users can also click on any link on the widget (such as a genre, or a label) to find videos of similar artists.

Seevl has reeled in Facebook integration to help users discover music. While it recommends music based on Facebook likes, it also builds users’ musical profiles, including favorite genres and labels.

a31 Seevl surfaces new music on YouTube, based on artists relationships and friends recommendations

The latest version of Seevl soft-launched in April this year, and has been iterating its plug-in ever since, while also working on other products in the background – which they aim to launch before the end of the year.

“Our goal is to bring our music discovery experience into platforms that people and tools are familiar with,” explains Passant. “One thing we’ve figured out is that browser extensions are difficult to market, even though I believe that ‘Hacking the Web’ or ‘The Web as a platform’ is a super exciting and powerful concept. I wish it was more popular! Yet, we had lots of users telling us they were lost in a musical journey on YouTube with the plug-in. So we decided to extend the concept to other services.”

The Ireland-based startup raised a pre-seed investment round during the summer from Enterprise Ireland through its Competitive Startup Fund, and have been participating in an entrepreneurship program called ‘New Frontiers’ for the past few months.

“We now focus on growing our user-base and launching our next range of products, the first of which will be here by the end of the year,” continues Passant. “All the while, we’ll also be targeting a seed round and other opportunities that would help us to strengthen our vision and grow the company.”

The new version of Seevl is available for Chrome and Firefox, and Safari support will be coming in due course.

Seevl