YouTube Rickrolling HTML5 Users

By Megan O'Neill Comment

YouTube is known for being pranksters, especially when it comes to the Rick Roll. Back in 2008, YouTube Rickrolled users by linking every video on the homepage to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up and now they’re Rick Rolling once again. This time they’re targeting viewers who have opted in to the site’s HTML5 trial.

So how exactly does YouTube’s HTML5 Rick Roll get ya? When you opt in, which you can do by clicking on ‘Join the HTML5 Trial’ here, you will get a brand new set of menu options when you right-click on a YouTube video. Rather than right-clicking into the traditional menu with options such as Copy video URL, Copy video URL at current time, Copy embed html, Report playback issue and more, the HTML5 contextual menu includes only two options – ‘Save Video As…’ and ‘About HTML5’.

The About HTML5 option leads to the page where you can join the HTML5 trial. But you are probably more excited about the other ‘Save Video As…’ option. Does this mean we can now download and save YouTube videos to our computers?! Well, in theory yes. If this menu option was legitimate it would allow you to download YouTube videos, and wouldn’t that be amazing? But unfortunately that would also be against YouTube’s terms of service and therefore – you guessed it – clicking on ‘Save Video As…’ actually just directs you to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. Uh oh, you’ve been RickRoll’d!

Personally, I find Rickrolling hilarious and I use the 1-Click YouTube Video Download Firefox plug-in to download YouTube videos so it wasn’t too much of a slap in the face for me to discover that you can’t actually download videos with the new HTML5 YouTube. However, I can see that some people may think this is nothing but a dirty trick.

Others may ask why YouTube bothered adding the ‘Save Video As…’ option at all if it was only going to lead to Rick. Who knows, maybe they will be making this an option in the future. Or maybe this is just a really great publicity stunt to spread the word about the YouTube HTML5 trial and get more people to opt in. What do you think?