Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

A while back, Lorenzo has created an alternative video lens and YouTube scope for Unity, which can be used to easily search and play YouTube videos using an external player of your choice.

Unity in Ubuntu 12.10 does have its own video lens, but it only supports YouTube Shows, Movies and Educations, so most YouTube results won't show up in the default Ubuntu video lens.

Lorenzo's YouTube lens/scope has been updated for Ubuntu 12.10 recently, getting proper video previews (I say "proper" because the default Ubuntu 12.10 video lens previews are kind of broken) which display the license, view count, likes and dislikes, the video description along with a video image and options to play the video using the player selected from the YouTube scope settings or open it in a web browser - check it out:

For those not familiar with this YouTube scope, besides being able to easily search for YouTube videos, it comes with a tool that lets you select an external player for viewing YouTube videos, so you don't have to open your browser (and without Flash). In the latest version, more players are supported and you can download videos as well, feature for which youtube-dl, a command line tool to download YouTube videos, is used.

The new version also comes with speed improvements and better search results, along with other new features, such as:
  • filter videos by length (short: less than four minutes, medium: less than twenty minutes, long: videos longer than twenty minutes)
  • filters for HD or 3D videos
  • new supported video players like Totem or SMPlayer
  • option to download videos which supports selecting the downloaded video format

Install YouTube scope/lens in Ubuntu 12.10

Add the PPA and install the alternative YouTube scope/lens in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/lenses 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install yavol scope-youtube youtube-dl

Once installed, restart Unity:
setsid unity

To configure which video player to use for viewing YouTube videos, launch Yavol from Dash (shows up as "yavol-scope-youtube-configurator"). In my test, VLC didn't work properly, so I suggest using something like Totem or Minitube to play the videos.