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Monday, June 27, 2005

Google Videos Not Playing in Germany

Google Video as seen from the US ...

... and Germany.

Do you have trouble playing videos from the newly updated Google Video service... even after you downloaded the Google Video Viewer? Well, it may be because you’re outside the US.

I’m in Germany and couldn’t get this to work at all. What I did see was the message “Video is currently not available” with a link to the about page with no relevant information.

Finally, I had the idea Google may be checking up on my location to hide some things from me, and sure enough, that was the cause. As soon as I used a proxy server from the US ( on port 80), things worked fine. On Internet Explorer, anyway (Firefox in Deer Park Alpha 1 has some troubles to run the Google videos; though it did work for me one time, support is flaky at best).

So why is Google hiding video content from Germany (and possibly, other places outside the US)? I could imagine two reasons.
One, this is just a glitch. Google is employing geo-location in other parts of its service as well – like itself, which redirects to for German users (as soon as it sees a German IP address, that is). They might have some switch which doesn’t show the real thing to German users without them realizing this happens. This is arguably unlikely.
Two, Google might not yet have worked out their payment program outside the US, or they might not have cleared the legal situation regarding the video licenses. This still wouldn’t explain why they’d omit mentioning this on the playback page.

Note: Only videos with a blue triangle icon can be played in the first place.

More free proxy servers are available.

Update: Apparently, it’s not a bug, but a feature. Google tells me “The playback component of Google Video is currently not available in the area where you live. However, we hope to make the product available as widely as possible in the near future.”


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