Search and Watch Google Video From Your Mobile Phone

UPDATE (Oct. 23, 2006): The application has been modified to allow for the downloading of both AVI and MP4 files, so that phones capable of MP4 playback can take advantage of the smaller file size.

How many times have you been sitting on the train, with nothing to do, and you thought to yourself, "Boy, I’d really like to be watching a video about pickles," only to realize that you have none on your person? If you’re like me, then the answer is plenty.

Well, worry no more. You can now search and watch Google Video right from your mobile communicator. That is, if you meet the following requirements:

  • Your phone has an XHTML-compliant browser
  • You have enough storage on your phone to hold large files
  • Your phone’s connection is fast
  • You have an application on your phone capable of playing AVI or MP4 files

While the first two are a must, there’s some wiggle room on requirements #3 and #4: having a fast connection and the ability to play AVI/MP4 files.

Though having a high-speed wireless phone service is not necessary, I cannot imagine how painful it would be to download a 5MB file over a data trickle, not to mention the cost. Many mobile providers offer a wide array of broadband packages, such as Verizon/Sprint’s EVDO or Cingular’s HSDPA network. If you’re already a subscriber to one of these services (or similar), continue onward. If not, find a friend who is and ask to borrow their phone for a couple of hours.

Now, if your phone already has an application capable of playing AVI/MP4 files…hooray! Pass Go and collect $200. For the rest of us, please take a moment to install one…

While I’m sure there are a whole slew of applications that provide mobile AVI/MP4 playback, the one that I chose to use was The Core Pocket Media Player. I currently own a Motorola Q phone (running Windows Mobile 5). TCPMP was easy enough to install and works reasonably well (Mac users can transfer/install the CAB file by Bluetooth conneciton).

Note: TCPMP has a plugins which allow it to playback MP4 files, though my attempts do so were unsuccessful. Video playback was choppy and unpleasant at best. If you would like to experiment with this method, you must download and install the ffmpeg and AAC codecs. In addition, MP4 downloads are freely available on the Google Video site, using the Download link on the right-hand side.

Now, onto the video….

Direct your XHTML-compliant phone browser to the following URL:

http://srobbin.com/mobilevideo

After you perform a search, you’ll notice that, below the title and description, are one or two links for AVI and MP4 files (not all videos allow the downloading of both types). Click on the file type that you would like to download. I’m not sure how this will work on other phones, but for my Q, Internet Explorer asks me if I want to save the video. After the download is complete, TCPMP automatically opens with the video pre-loaded. All I have to do is click play.

That’s about it. Search results have been limited to videos under 4 minutes. Anything larger would take ridiculously long to download, and would eat up a ton of phone memory.

Want to see it in action, but don’t want all the hastle of install apps on your phone? Check out this video demonstration of how it works.

Curious to know how the application works? Check out my post here on how to extract AVI files from Google Video RSS feeds.

If you have any questions, or further insite on how to make this better, please feel free to contact me at: mobilevideo [at] srobbin.com.


Posted on October 19, 2006 at 7:18 am.