Google Video is great -- lots of videos there to keep me entertained. Unfortunately you are forced to stream the same video repeatedly through your pathetic DSL pipe if you want to watch the same clip again and again. There is no option to let you download the video file for off-line use, and you are stuck with watching the video through its Flash player interface.
There are ways to work out the actual URL of the streaming source. It involves locating specific elements in the HTML source, find the exact URL in encoded form, decode it, and then paste it back into the browser to download the video. A tedious process -- something can be easily automated by a bit of programming.
Thus Google Video Downloader Bookmarklet was born. Install it. Go to a Google Video search result. Click on the bookmarklet, and then it does all the work for you. You just need to click on another link to actually download the video in Flash Video (.flv) format.
- Drag the above link to your Bookmarks Toolbar.
Internet Explorer users:
- Right click on the above link, and click on "Add to Favorites".
- You might get a security warning. Click on "Yes" and ignore that.
- Create the favorite in "Links" for it to appear on the toolbar.
- Right click on the above link, and click on "Bookmark Link".
- In the "Add bookmark" dialog box, check "Show on personal bar" and click on "OK".
- Go to Google Video Search.
- Search for the video you want.
- From inside the search result (don't click into the video yet), click on the "Google Video Download" bookmarklet -- and it will turn the preview button into download button (who needs preview anyway).
- Click on the download button, and the browser should prompt you to save the file. Give it a .flv file extension.
Playing Flash Video
There are quite a few media players that can play .flv files.
Personally I found MPlayer handles Flash Video better than VLC, if you can excuse the user interface. YMMV.
Alternatively, you might want to convert the Flash Video into another format to play on devices without flash player support (onto your smart phone, for example). You can do that by downloading Riva FLV Encoder (freeware), which can convert a FLV file into either AVI or MPEG.
- Download, install and execute Riva FLV Encoder.
- Set your newly downloaded FLV file as input.
- Change the "Destination video file" to use ".mpg" file extension, instead of ".flv".
- Adjust video settings if required.
- Hit "Encode"!
You can then re-compress the MPEG file into your desired format using tools like Virtual Dub (open source).
Update 2005-11-10: if you runs a un*x/linux box, you can also install ffmpeg to do the decoding/encoding for you. For example,
~$ ffmpeg -i googlevideo.flv -s 320x240 -r 15.00 -b 300 -f avi -vcodec xvid \ -acodec mp3 -ab 96 googlevideo.avi
Recode the FLV into a AVI file, with 300kbps Xvid video + 96kbps MP3 audio. Check ffmpeg documentation for details.
Here are some of the projects that I found which achieve the same goal.
- Google Translate Video Links Greasemonkey user-script. This was actually what inspired my bookmarklet, except (1) only Mozilla/Firefox + Greasemonkey users can benefit (2) the code is really over-complicated.
- Google Video Downloader. A separate website where you can search Google Video and it will work out the download link for you. But why go to another website, when a simple bookmarklet can do it right inside Google Video Search? Nice statistics on what other people are downloading though.
- 0.1 (2005-11-07)
- Initial release.