Gnome Shell YouTube Search Provider Lets You Play YouTube Videos In VLC

YouTube Search Provider is a new extension for Gnome Shell which can be used to search for YouTube videos directly from the Gnome Shell Activities and play them using a desktop video player, like VLC.

Gnome Shell YouTube Search Provider

The extension is useful if you want to quickly search for YouTube videos without opening a web browser and play them without ads, in a video player such as VLC, SMPlayer, and more. This should use less resources than playing the video on YouTube directly, especially if the video player you're using and your drivers allow hardware accelerated playback.

VLC YouTube video Gnome Shell YoUTube search provider

Besides letting you choose between the video player to use for playing the videos (VLC, SMPlayer, Totem, Miro, Minitube or UMPlayer), the extension preferences allow quite a few search settings:

  • specify the maximum number of YouTube search results
  • change search order (order by view count, date, rating, title, channel video count)
  • search for videos newer than a given time / date
  • enable or disable safe search
  • can filter videos based on whether they have captions
  • search for SD or HD only videos, as well as 2D or 3D
  • filter videos based on duration
  • filter videos based on license
  • restrict the search to a particular type of videos (movies or episodes)

The extension does not currently support mpv directly, but it's easy to add support for it. You'll need to make an entry for mpv in extension.js (similar to the one for VLC for example), add mpv as an option in, compile the modified schema (glib-compile-schemas ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/ and restart Gnome Shell.

Looking at how to add support for mpv to the YouTube Search Provider, I noticed that the extension looks for the media player executable in /usr/bin/. That means it won't work with VLC (or some other video player) installed from Flatpak or Snap packages. You can change that though, once again by editing the extension.js file and changing the video player path (for example, use /snap/bin/vlc for VLC installed as Snap).

But given how slow the VLC snap starts, I'd recommend your stick with the official repository-provided package.

If you've installed the extension from the Gnome Shell extensions website, you'll find these files in the extension folder in ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/

Sort of related (for theming VLC and other Qt5 apps): Use Custom Themes For Qt Applications On Linux With Kvantum

Install YouTube Search Provider for Gnome Shell