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The best of Google Video on MetaFilter
April 18, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

As discussed over the weekend, in less than two weeks the millions of videos uploaded to six-year-old erstwhile YouTube competitor Google Video will no longer be viewable. Though a download button has been added to each video page for easy back-up, that will only be available though May 13th, and the company will not be offering transfer service for users with YouTube accounts. The search giant has been slowly winding down the service over the years since their billion-dollar buyout of YouTube, controversially revoking purchased content (with a refund) in 2007 and disabling new uploads in 2009. The shutdown is a big blow to the web video ecosystem, as Google Video was one of the few major services to allow free hosting of long-form video, including the content for many popular MetaFilter posts. But all is not lost! Reddit users have organized a virtual potluck to share the most interesting and unique videos not available anywhere else, and the Archive Team, preserver of doomed web properties like Geocities (previously), is partnering with Archive.org to back up as much content as possible. In that spirit, click inside for a list of some of the most popular Google Video-centric content posted here over the years.

[Note: Oodles of kudos to Mefi's Own FishBike for helping to prepare this post, by scraping the database for all posts linking to video.google.com and sorting by favorites. The list includes some content from before favorites were around, but I surely would have missed lots of good stuff without his handy (meta)filtered list!]

Single links are in the title where available, see the (via) for multi-link content on the original post page. Lots of posts were skipped where the video wasn't available, so all of these should work.

2005
* The original Family Guy (via)
* Conan's Walker Texas Ranger lever (via)
* First-person view of a 14-minute high-speed car chase (via)
* Panama Canal time-lapse video (via)

2006
* "Physics for Future Presidents" lecture series (via)
* Threads, a horrifying nuclear war drama (via)
* A BBC documentary on Texas Christians converting to Islam (via)
* Cool guitar solo by Stanley Jordan (via)
* Fear of Girls, a 10-minute mockumentary about stereotypical RPG players (via)
* Riding a maglev train in Japan (via)
* An hour-long documentary on one man's walking tour of Japanese history (via)
* The original half-hour demo for Spore that wowed just about everybody (via)
* "Flickr: The Musical" by Johnathan Coulton (via)
* Footage of Tsar Bomba, the world's largest nuclear bomb test (via)
* Don't copy that floppy! (via)
* Little Things that Jiggle: Richard Feynman and Atomic Physics (via)
* Back to the Future I & II synched (via)
* Hundreds of students impersonate molecular motion (via)
* WWII aerial footage (via)
* The finest tap dancing ever filmed (via)
* Tons of UC Berkeley college lectures (via)
* Alive in Joburg, the original short film prequel to District 9 (via)
* 1955 footage of the star-studded Rhythm and Blues Revue (via)
* £10,000 dominoes (via)
* Radiohead Live - OK Computer Tour (via)

2007
* Lots of MST3K episodes in this megapost
* Tons of George Carlin specials (via)
* Classic Marx Brothers (via)
* Nosferatu, The Immigrant, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (via)
* Richard Feynman - The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (via)
* Documenting the history of atheism (via)
* Tons of random Christmas special episodes (via)
* Chomsky vs. Buckley (via)
* Creepy TV hacking incidents (via)
* Hilarious Windows 386 promotional video (via)
* Google Research's Videos of the Year (via)

2008
* "The Return of Clockwork Orange" discussing Kubrick's classic film (via)
* aubilenon's homemade Rube Goldberg machine (via)
* A pair of popular lectures explaining why you shouldn't talk to the police (via)
* Classic Abbot & Costello (via)
* Four hours of MTV's Sifl & Olly (via)
* A collection of full-length film noir classics (via)
* "How Buildings Learn," a six-part BBC documentary on architecture (via)
* "The Trap," a three-episode documentary on the development of the concept of individual freedom (via)
* Super amusing playthroughs of the sadistically hard Kaizo Mario game mod (semi-via)

(speaking of which, the Let's Play Archive contains significant Google Video content of narrated classic video game walkthroughs for all systems, which it's likewise racing to preserve before it's too late.)

2009
* "Inside the Chernobyl Sarcophagus," a gripping documentary on the suicidal attempts to contain the nuclear disaster (via)
* The Cowboy Bebop movie "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (via)
* An anthropological documentary look at "the human animal" in six parts (via)
* Multiple gay history documentaries from Stonewall to the present (via)
* High Tech Soul and Pump Up the Volume, electronic music documentaries (via)

2010
* Jim Henson's hour-long film "The Cube" (via)
* Videotaped US sea burial of lost Soviet submariners (via)
* A lengthy talk from Buckminster Fuller (via)
* "The Plague Dogs," a harrowing animated film about escaped research animals (via)
* Several links to English anime dubs in this megapost from filthy light thief
* The Space Ghost Christmas Special (via)
* A multi-part narrated playthrough of Douglas Adams's cult classic video game Starship Titanic (via)

2011
* The complete first season of machinima comedy hit Red vs. Blue (via)
* A 42-minute documentary on a survivor's escape from Auschwitz in his own words (via)
* From Friday's thread: National Collegiate Debate Championship, Douglas Hofstadter docudrama, 1989 global warming documentary, Kubrick's "Fear and Desire", Parisian bookstore documentary, Douglas Adams interview, BBC on worker co-ops, Adam Curtis's documentaries, a look at humanity's dependence on animals, Joel Bauer describes the contents of his suitcase, David Attenborough on uncontacted New Guinea tribes, 1980s children's puppetry TV, Superman: The Musical!

See also: Authors@Google, Tech Talks, and other Google-produced video
posted by Rhaomi (54 comments total) 140 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes! I've been waiting for this all day.
posted by LSK at 1:32 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ctrl-F: "hovind" *sigh*
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel the need to supplement this with:

2005 debate championships (the one linked to in the thread is from 2004 - this is the follow-up.)

I've got around 10-15 more picks at home - I'll post them in a few hours.
posted by LSK at 1:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tend to favorite posts for bookmarking purposes. Usually long ones like this are, "Mark it and come back to it later" types of bookmarks. But this post will be virtually useless in two weeks. Talk about the ephemera of the internet!
posted by charred husk at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


So Google's going to enable long videos on Youtube now, right?

Right?
posted by Jimbob at 1:42 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good point, charred husk -- this was more intended for "download these before it's too late!", but that will be pretty useless in the near future. I'll try following up later on with a comment pointing to other versions of these links (where available) for posterity, but it will take awhile.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:44 PM on April 18, 2011


Kinda shocking they're not even exploring options to merge this eco-system into youtube. Simply adding a download button seems like it'll piss off original content producers as well (streaming vs downloading)
posted by straight_razor at 1:44 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


so Google's going to enable long videos on Youtube now, right?

We already have, mostly. Users who have uploaded several videos without issues are generally eligible for long videos now. I admit it's not as straightforward as Google Video, and not as easy as I'd like, but it's definitely possible.

(I can't really comment more on the GV stuff)
posted by wildcrdj at 1:46 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the content from this post (the Google links, I mean) is duplicated in other places, perhaps we could get some back-editing action going on? Of course, this sounds like a job for MetaTalk...
posted by charred husk at 1:46 PM on April 18, 2011


The Alive in Joburg link, corrected. The one you have goes to a Tetra Vaal robot commercial (by the same guy, I believe).
posted by mrbill at 1:47 PM on April 18, 2011


I didn't find "SPIN", though I swear I learned about it through MeFi. Single best documentary I have ever seen.
posted by fake at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2011


WHY DO YOU HATE ME.
posted by Theta States at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2011


I wonder how high GV's traffic has skyrocketed in the past couple days. I know I've been watching more of these videos now, when in the past I've just bookmarked them and forgotten about them.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow that Back to the Future sync is great!! What fun movies...
posted by ReeMonster at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2011


Not sure if FishBike already did it, but I'm currently trying to put together a list of all links to Google Video from MetaFilter (including comments) so that hopefully the Archive Team can grab most or all of it.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:30 PM on April 18, 2011


Dang. I'm still not entirely over the loss of Stage6, which was vastly superior to either Google Video or Youtube, and I still have not found its equal.
posted by smoothvirus at 2:32 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I'm glad that nobody's mentioned the Star Wars Holiday Special yet)
posted by Webbster at 2:39 PM on April 18, 2011


I've currently got googlegargle working on all the videos directly linked in this post. I'll see if I can whip something up to follow links and grab the second level.
posted by hades at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2011


Not sure if FishBike already did it, but I'm currently trying to put together a list of all links to Google Video from MetaFilter (including comments) so that hopefully the Archive Team can grab most or all of it.

I grabbed all the search results for http://video.google.com, but only extracted the URLs of front-page posts from that. So nothing from other parts of the site nor comments, and not the actual video link URLs, just the posts that included them.

Which means that about 99% of the actual work involved in this post was done by Rhaomi, by the way.

I could extract all the post and comment URLs from those search results, if that would be helpful. It would still be a lot of manual work to look at each of those and pull out the actual video URLs though.
posted by FishBike at 2:58 PM on April 18, 2011


Has google released any master list of docids so the archiving process can be automated independent of content?
posted by benzenedream at 3:03 PM on April 18, 2011


Yeah, I don't see why they couldn't just move these to YouTube.
posted by designbot at 3:12 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could extract all the post and comment URLs from those search results, if that would be helpful. It would still be a lot of manual work to look at each of those and pull out the actual video URLs though

I already have all of the relevant post URLs scraped and saved (around 2800 posts total). Right now I have a script chugging through that list, pulling out the video docids using BeautifulSoup.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ctrl-F: "hovind" *sigh*

I thought that was mentioned in the other thread and scraped already for archive.org.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:37 PM on April 18, 2011


(I'm glad that nobody's mentioned the Star Wars Holiday Special yet)

Blah, this is the copy that Rifftrax used for their "tribute".
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2011


designbot: I don't see why they couldn't just move these to YouTube.

I don't think it's about the ability to shift everything over to YouTube, but the need to filter everything for copyrighted content and whatnot (see video identification, with an amusing 147 likes, and 975 dislikes). I imagine there are a lot of videos that were previously posted that wouldn't make it back up (like my Studio Ghibli mega-post, as many of those movies are English dubs, probably taken from commercial US DVDs; but I tried to provide alternate sources where possible).

And on the flip side, things that are already in the public copyright might already be on Archive.org, and in better shape than those on Google Video.


ZeusHumms: Ctrl-F: "hovind" *sigh*

I thought that was mentioned in the other thread and scraped already for archive.org.


You are correct. MetaFilter's Own jscott is the Archive Team Mascot, and employee of Archive.org for the effort of archiving these videos.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:44 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though a download button has been added to each video page for easy back-up, that will only be available though May 13th, and the company will not be offering transfer service for users with YouTube accounts

Checked out a few videos. No download link is evident. Although I guess I could always use DownloadHelper.
posted by Jimbob at 4:08 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jimbob, the download button -- as I understand it -- is there for the account-holder.
posted by dhartung at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2011


Is that button for Google Video account-holders, or just a Google Account? Because even though it recognizes me and gives me my Google Account name, there still isn't a download button.

Oh, and the 2005 Walker Texas Ranger vid has been removed.
posted by Ber at 4:23 PM on April 18, 2011


It's for the original poster of the video. (I have a work-related account, with one TV ad posted.) Like I said in the other post, I wish there were a "move to YouTube" option.
posted by epersonae at 4:32 PM on April 18, 2011


Thanks. Good thing that my Realplayer download works on these.
posted by Ber at 4:54 PM on April 18, 2011


keepvid will let you download these. And, as a bonus, also youtube videos.
posted by delmoi at 4:59 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good news, Don't Copy That Floppy is on YouTube! And it's a "remastered" version, definitely better quality than the Google Video version. Bonus: the same user has 9 other anti-copying videos online.

The rest? Oh, I'm not sure.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2011


Last time I posted some links to Google Video, there was an option to download the videos, although it wasn't called that exactly. It was something to do with transferring to a mobile device, but the result of clicking it was just an MP4 file.

I don't see that option any more, even on the same videos it used to be on. I know there are other ways to do it, but that was really convenient, and would have been very handy right about now. I wonder why they took that away?
posted by FishBike at 5:16 PM on April 18, 2011


MP4 files are generally mobile device (especially iPod) friendly. If I remember correctly, there was also an .avi option too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:30 PM on April 18, 2011


MP4 and AVI are container formats and can have all sorts of different codecs in them. Saying something is "mp4" or "avi" is meaningless, really.

But yes, Google Video used to have a download link that would give you the video in an mp4 container using h.264 for video and (I believe) mp3 audio, may have been aac. No idea when this was removed.

Both GV and YouTube allow you to download videos that you uploaded.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:35 PM on April 18, 2011


I finished grabbing all of the links, and here is (pretty much) every Google Video ever linked on MeFi. I found around 2800 unique pages on all of the MetaFilter subsites with Google Video links, which resulted in around 3000 unique videos. Of those, 1675 were still valid and did not simply redirect to a YouTube video. Here are just the docids, which I will add to the list over at the Archive Team wiki.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brilliant post. Thanks *so* much for this!
posted by nickyskye at 9:45 PM on April 18, 2011




Fishbike and Rhaomi this is a high-point for Metafilter video posts. You have entered into the territory of the legendary. Great work!
posted by Mike Mongo at 11:30 PM on April 18, 2011


That's awesome, burnmp3s!
posted by FishBike at 5:51 AM on April 19, 2011


Don't know if anybody has seen these or they were part of any previous FPP, but here, in two parts, are approximately 3 hours of MTV in 1983 recorded on VHS by the uploader and then generously posted to Google Video. I saved a copy myself. This is a refreshing time capsule and definitely should be saved by the Archive Team. Part One and Part Two
posted by theartandsound at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2011


Okay, I'm an idiot. Someone else had posted the MTV links in the other thread from the weekend.

As penance, here is something else in need of saving, Stuart Brand's 6 part documentary for the BBC called How Buildings Learn, uploaded by the man himself!!!!!

Part One - "Flow"
Part Two - "The Low Road"
Part Three - "Built for Change"
Part Four - "Unreal Estate"
Part Five - "The Romance Of Maintenance"
Part Six - "Shearing Layers"
posted by theartandsound at 7:04 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


theartandsound, the How Buildings Learn documentary series is linked to at the beginning of this thread via fpp.

Thanks to Mike Mongo for starting that, as well as everyone else saving the vids, and linking their favorites.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:41 AM on April 19, 2011


That is, thanks to Mike Mongo for starting the other thread, and FishBike and Rhaomi for starting this one.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:42 AM on April 19, 2011


In case we have any Stewart Lee or Richard Herring fans (or just British comedy fans in general)...Currently the entire series of both "Fist of Fun" & "This Morning With Richard Not Judy" are hosted on Google Video. Neither series were ever released on DVD. They are hilarious!

Easiest just to link to Stewart Lee's video page:

http://stewartlee.co.uk/oldshows.htm
posted by ericthegardener at 9:54 AM on April 19, 2011


Why doesn't google just send archive.org a couple dat tapes? Or roll everything into a torrent. No sense it makes!
posted by wackyvorlon at 10:38 AM on April 19, 2011


Google Video is currently the only place to find the much-in-demand 1972 BBC documentary Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles. Definitely worthy of archiving elsewhere, even in this lo-fi copy. It should be on the master list, since miss lynnster posted about it a few years back .
posted by Scram at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]




Oh wow, The Wave! There's a blast from the past.
posted by Theta States at 8:49 PM on April 19, 2011


Update: Youtube Migration
posted by flatluigi at 4:06 PM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


From flatluigi's link:
Google Video users can rest assured that they won't be losing any of their content and we are eliminating the April 29 deadline. We will be working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube. In the meantime, your videos hosted on Google Video will remain accessible on the web and existing links to Google Videos will remain accessible. [emphasis added]
I wonder what happened behind the scenes.
posted by grouse at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great news -- especially the preservation of backlinks -- but I wonder how many people will actually take advantage of this. Given the age of the advice, I'm sure many uploaded videos have owners who haven't logged in for years. Good thing the Archive Team is on the case!
posted by Rhaomi at 8:25 PM on April 22, 2011


YEAAAAAAA!!!
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:50 PM on April 23, 2011


Rhaomi: "Given the age of the advice..."

Er, age of the service. (DYAc)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:31 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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