May 14th, 2010

If there’s one thing I’ve always loved about the Android market, it’s that you can pretty much make any application you want and upload it without the hassle of going through the big bad wolf for approval. It seems even Google has their limits, however, as we just learned that the popular Dolphin Browser HD has gotten an unfortunate “downgrade” of sorts.

Specifically, they were forced by Google to remove the YouTube downloading feature from their application in order to put it back up on the market. Obviously, the feature was a huge selling point for a lot of the app’s downloaders, and their sentiments are echoed in the comments and rating section of the app’s market space, if you care to take a look.


Apparently, the issue was that downloading YouTube videos goes directly against Google’s and YouTube’s Terms of Service policy (section 5, point A), so it’s understandable why they took action and asked for the change. We’re not sure how the exchange went down, but I can’t imagine that the developers of the browser put up any sort of fight at all.

It’s been a dealbreaker for many users – some have vowed not to upgrade, some have backed their APK file up to their SD card to make sure they never lose the version they dearly loved, and others have completely uninstalled the application altogether. The story gets interesting because of the fact that there are still many YouTube downloader apps that exist in the market up until this point. What makes it even juicier is YouTube’s initiative to allow users to pay to download certain videos: a third-party solution completely bypasses that new source of revenue.

Without getting into the quality of any of said stand-alone downloader apps, I wonder if Dolphin’s popularity was the trigger in Google shutting that feature down for them (sort of a way to set an example like they did when Cyanogen was issued a cease and desist for his popular roms). What do you guys think? Should Google go after the other downloader apps, as well? Are you a Dolphin user that heavily used this feature and hate to see it go?