Google Asks Developer of Dolphin Browser To Remove YouTube Download Feature


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?

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Google and Apple need to police ALL apps that break TOS. They can’t just bully one of them. This hypocrisy is much of the reason Apple has gotten such a bad reputation in dealing with their app removals, and it won’t fare any better for Google.

  2. it is illegal, most of the videos on Youtube belong to whoever put them up, and unless they give permission to download their video i don’t think it should be allowed.

  3. hey thats what i did, have that dolphin hd save in my memory card ;)

  4. Yea Google actually has to watch its own back on this one. People downloading the videos from YouTube can quickly land them in hot water and hurt potential deals to bring major media to the site.

  5. who wants to download a youtube video anyways? ‘oh I may need to watch this video of a cat playing the piano when my internet connection is down!’

  6. Who needs this on a phone? if I want to download it, I can download it from my desktop!


  7. @schwiz – good point well made!

  8. there’s always a favorite and bookmarking when it comes to youtube. but i do understand why google has to draw a line. i was pretty sad when i had to upgrade it. i wished i backed it up.

  9. I think Google’s actions are justified and were to be expected. This is less of an “Open Market” issue, more of a “YouTube T&C’s” issue. I imagine they will now contact the authors of the other YouTube download apps. That’s exactly what they should do to ensure “fair play”, and to protect the rights of themselves and the copyright holders.

  10. I wanna download videos all the time. There is a lot of training videos on YouTube that can be helpful at a moments notice (I use guitar lessons all the time).

    I did notice though, that a lot of the more popular YouTube downloader apps have been removed from the Market, including my personal favorite, YouTube Downloader. RIP

  11. @schwiz – How about downloading an instructional video on Android programming and watching it on the bus on the way to work w/o having to worry about signal issues?

  12. It was a good feature but it does go against Youtubes TOS.

  13. Please. This doesn’t really constrain anybody’s freedom here. You can still get and install apps that aren’t distributed on Android Market, you know. You can’t expect Google to actively conspire in distributing apps that break their own policies and infringe their own services’ copyright terms.

    The difference is that with Apple you have no choices – you can’t go to an alternative market or download apps directly from their developer. Your only choice is to use the App Store.

    Just download SlideME from the Market, and then buy TubeDroid from SlideME for $1.99. It took me all of 20 seconds on Google to figure this out.

  14. It was a good feature to have . This made dolphin browser stand out .it a shame google is becoming more like apple on the way their open source is now beginning to be governed . shame on you google

  15. people are clueless about what open source means. It doesn’t mean the wild friggin west that you can steal, break TOS, or do anything illegal….

  16. It was something that needed to happen. If it goes directly against TOS between any companies then it is what it is. I upgraded to the newest version knowing this but I love the browser that much that i’m not going to let that bother me.

  17. I never used the feature, so it’s not a big deal for me.

  18. @ boostedscooby – Are you serious??? How long do you really think Google/Android would last if Google kept letting people break TOS and let people upload anything and everything in the Market? If you didn’t guess that it wouldn’t be long, then common sense is something you lack.

  19. Honestly, removing that didn’t bother me at all. it’s against the youtube TOS so thats fine with me. Though google should go after everyone then.

    And seriously, go download firefox, downloadhelper and download all the youtube videos you want. i know i do.

  20. what kinda BS is this???
    Streaming and downloading are 100% the exact same thing!!!

    every looked in your /temp/ folder
    or some awfully ugly hidden temp folder in your C:\documents & settings\username\…\temp\ — dont know it out of my head ….

    if you stream you are downloading it….
    and if you copy it from there… you can watch it again and again…
    you cant stream without downloading!!!


  21. How are apps like TubeDroid still allowed? Granted, I love downloading videos, and didn’t realize this broke the TOS. I paid the $2 for this app, and love it because I can watch the higher quality videos (and can skip to different parts of the video) without the phone waiting in player mode for the whole thing to buffer. The high-quality youtube videos are gorgeous on my Droid.

  22. Since android allows the installation of non market applications all you need to do Is find an app that serves this purpose on the internet, there are a few android communities that have beta applications that do all sort of things.

  23. what most youtubers dont realize is that technically everything uploaded to youtube becomes the property of google meaning they can use any clip from youtube in whatever way they want without knowledge or consent from the user who uploaded it. youtube is an advertising website with the right kind of bait

  24. I know many people will say we don’t need to download youtube videos as we can stream it any time we like , but for me I can’t do that while I’m not home as mobile data costs about 100$ dollar in my country !(Saudi Arabia) . I know you may think we only have 3g , but you would be wrong as we actually have 3g , wimax and we will get the new LTE network this year . Unfortunately because the Gov. controls the prices and they are late to the party we have to struggle with the cost of these services .

  25. Open source and pirating is totally two different thing. Downloading you tube movie is clearly pirating

  26. makes sense.

  27. Ohhhh and you where doing so well Google, way to apple up. Whats next please look at this AD before you get your email. Don’t forget not to be evil Google.

  28. How is downloading a youtube video pirating when you play it in their viewer you are already downloading the content to your device? All I want to do is too save it for later viewing without dealing with buffering/bandwidth issues. So the real crime here is not deleting what you download from youtube after you finish watching it? BS. This falls under the same category as being able to back up your dvds as a personal use copy.
    Google please change your policy regarding personal copy of the content, if your giving it to me, let me keep it. Dont make me keep asking you for the same content over and over again.

  29. damn – had no idea that even existed. Now i’m frustrated i didn’t have Dolphin… Anyone have the backed up app they’d be willing to share. [email protected] Cheers!

  30. Seems legit to me. If you violate TOS, you’re in the wrong. Not unlike stealing.

    That being said, Google should go after ALL Youtube-downloading apps in this case, not just after the most-popular one(s).

  31. whatever. this article just made me rush out and download/backup a couple of youtube downloaders to get ahead of google taking them all off the market. theres also several websites that allow you to enter youtube urls and rip the videos that way. all the apps did was simplify the process. way to go, google.

  32. They need to be worried about apple’s next move and “improving” their user experience, not pissing users + developers off.

  33. Breaking a ToS because you feel like it and it is easy is not a godgiven right ppl.

    Cant really fault google, or any other company for upholding their ToS. And Google has some pretty odd things in their ToSs…

  34. Covert, i actualy think that once you upload something, google actually owns it. Although you have the right to remove your own content. I liked the download function, if you were near a wifi connection. to bad it’s gotten loped off at the knees.

  35. What’s youtube? Seriously though I could care less. I just watch my neighbors if I need a little pick me up. Live stupid people is much better than an a stupid person on a website.

  36. ok…read some of the comments due to my little free time.downloading videos from youtube IS NOT STEALING!the mp3’s wich are for sale should not be downloaded!ok.but the videos are not for sale!so it’s not any ilegal thing!unfortunately ilegal is the f*ckin’ google idiots who don’t let me even watch youtube!i’ve paid for my android tablet pc,i’m a dj and i can’t watch any youtube videos while i’m traveling or visit myspace!JESUS CHRIST!!!!

  37. I don’t understand why so many regular folks spend their time defending a multibillion dollar company. Google doesn’t need your help.

    Terms of service, market rules, these are all the same things: Google’s money-making rules. Why should we care about Google increasing profit? They will always limit innovation if it gets in the way of increased profits for the company. This doesn’t help us at all.

    So put away your pom poms.

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