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April 30, 2006

Download Google Videos As AVI Files

Update (Sept. 2007): This doesn't work anymore, but you can still download the videos as MP4 by clicking on "Download for Video iPod/Sony PSP". After Google acquired YouTube, Google Video started to remove features and to morph into a video search engine.

If you want to save videos from Google Video in Windows and Mac OSX, you only have the option to download them as MP4 files, in a lower quality that's suitable for the iPod and PSP. Google removed the option to save the videos in a higher quality after closing the video store and discontinuing Google Video Player. But you can still save the videos as AVI files using a bookmarklet (a bookmark that only contains JavaScript code), as described below.

Make sure the link toolbar is visible in your browser. You can enable it if you go to the View menu in your browser, click on Toolbars and check:
* Bookmarks Toolbar in Firefox
* Personal Bar in Opera
* Links in Internet Explorer

For Firefox and Opera, drag and drop the link below to the toolbar. For Internet Explorer, right-click on the link, select "Add to Favorites", ignore the security warning and choose "Links" from the list of folders (Internet Explorer no longer supports dragging bookmarklets).

Download Google Video

The link toolbar should look like this:

Next time when you see a video you like on Google Video, click on the bookmarklet and save the video. Note that this only works for videos hosted at Google Video, not for YouTube or other third-party sites that are available from Google Video.

Because Google adds a non-standard header to the videos, not all players can render them. Some good applications that ignore the headers and play Google videos are Media Player Classic (Windows), VideoLan (Windows/Mac/Linux), MPlayer (Windows/Mac/Linux). If you want to remove the special header, so you can play the videos with Windows Media Player, try this small tool.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.