YouTube and Save Video As

An amusing April Fool’s satire I ran across yesterday reminded me of a Connect bug that was reported back in the IE9 Beta. The HTML <video> control’s default context menu includes a “Save Video As…” menu option that allows saving the video to disk:

Video Context Menu

The user complained that, when browsing YouTube with HTML5 Video enabled, they were unable to Save Videos using the context menu. When we went to investigate, the problem was pretty obvious:

Fake context menu

The context menu shown isn’t the default context menu. Google has used JavaScript to suppress the default context menu and is showing an HTML-based context menu instead. The replacement context menu contains a phony “Save Video As…” item. When clicked, it navigates the top-level browser window to a Rick Astley video, weakly mimicking a common internet prank called rickrolling. Notably, the Astley video isn’t available in h264 format and thus won’t play unless the user has Flash enabled.

Users who aren’t familiar with Internet memes might not understand why the video isn’t saving properly, and at least a few have assumed this must be an unusual browser bug—it isn’t. We’ve asked our outreach team to request that Google remove this potentially-confusing gag.

-Eric Lawrence

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