google video


Google Video is a free video sharing website and also a video service.

Uploaded videos were saved as a .gvi files under the « Google Videos » folder in « My Videos ».


Competing services include iFilm, Metacafe, Veoh, and

On October 9, 2006 Google agreed to buy former competitor YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock, but YouTube will remain a separate service under its own identity for the near future.

Sites searched by Google Video in addition to their own videos and YouTube include GoFish, Vimeo, MySpace, Biku, and Yahoo! Video. It appears that Google Video is moving away from an online video archive and towards a search engine for videos, similar to their web and image searches.

The basic way to watch the videos is through the Google Video website, Each video has a unique web address in the format of<video id>, and that page contains an embedded Falsh video file which can be viewed in any Flash enabled browser.

Permalinks to a certain point in a video are also possible, in the format of<video id>#XXhYYmZZs (that is, with a identifier containing a timestamp).

Flash Video

The browser automatically caches the flash file while it plays. There are also several tools and browser extensions to download the file. It can be then viewed in video players that can handle flash, for example Media Player Classic (with ffdshow installed), MPlayer or Wimpy.


Google Video Player was another way to view Google videos; it runs on win and mac. The Google Video Player plays back files in Google’s own Google Video File (.gvi) media format and supported playlists in « Google Video Pointer » (.gvp) format. When users downloaded to their computers, the resulting file used to be a small .gvp (pointer) file rather than a .gvi file. When run, the .gvp file would download a .gvi (movie) file to the user’s default directory.

April 2007: Google Video Player has been discontinued and is no longer available for download from Google Video website. The option to download videos in GVI format has also been removed, the only download option remaining for iPod/PSP (MP4 format).

While early versions of Google’s in-browser video player code were based on the open source VLC Media Player, the last version of Google Video Player was not based on VLC, according to its readme. However, it did include the OpenSSL cryptographic toolkit and some libraries from the Qt widget toolkit.

GVI format and conversion

Google Video Files (.gvi), and latterly its .avi files, are modified .avi files that have an extra list containing the FourCC « goog » immediately following the header. The list can be removed with a hex editor to avoid playback issues with various video players. The video is encoded in Divx4 alongside an MP3 audio stream. divx video players can render .gvi Google Video Files without format conversion (after changing the extension from .gvi to .avi, although this method of just renaming the file extension does not work with videos purchased with DRM to inhibit unauthorized copying). Among other software VirtualDub is able to read .gvi files and allows the user to convert them into different formats of choice. There are also privately developed software solutions, such as GVideo Fix, that can convert them to .avi format without recompression. MEncoder with « -oac copy -ovc copy » as parameters also suffices.

AVI and MP4

Besides GVI and FLV, Google provided its content through downloadable *.avi and *.mp4 video files. Not all formats are available through the website’s interface, however, depending on the user’s operating system.

Where available, Google’s « save as » function for Windows/Mac produced an .avi file, while the « save as » function forPSP iPod produced an .mp4 file.

The .avi file is not in standard .avi format.

Spring 2008, the option to download files in .AVI format has been removed, and files are only available as Flash video or .MP4, while the same videos when accessed through the companion site are available only in Flash video format.

Despite constant product development and business development churn, Google Video had never attained market leadership in the online video space at the time when Google acquired YouTube.

See also


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