Google Videos, Google's answer to YouTube before it gave up and bought the video sharing service, is being shut down. The search giant has sent out an email warning to users who previously uploaded one or more videos to the service.

As of April 29, 2011, Google Videos will no longer let users watch any more videos. Users can, however, download their videos until May 13, 2011, and Google is encouraging them to re-upload their videos to YouTube.

We're a little surprised Google has taken so long to shut down Google Videos. We're even more shocked that Mountain View is not letting Google Videos users simply transfer their videos to a YouTube account. It's understandable that Google does not want to move all the content over (Google Videos still hosts millions of videos), but giving users the option would certainly be much more convenient and a smoother experience.

Google Videos was launched on January 25, 2005, but Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006. Google announced on June 13, 2007 that Google Videos search results would begin to include videos discovered by their search crawlers on other hosting services, including YouTube. In May 2009, Google Videos stopped accepting uploads. Although previously uploaded videos were still available, the service remained as a video search function, and now the search giant wants to finish the transformation by deleting all remaining videos.

Here is the full email sent to Google Videos users (if you didn't get it, but have videos on Google Videos, you should still try to save them before it's too late):

Dear Google Video User,

Later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now we're removing the remaining hosted content. We've always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.

On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We've added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don't want to download your content, you don't need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)

We encourage you to move to your content to YouTube if you haven't done so already. YouTube offers many video hosting options including the ability to share your videos privately or in an unlisted manner. To learn more go here.

Here's how to download your videos:

  1. Go to the Video Status page.
  2. To download a video to your computer, click the Download Video link located on the right side of each of your videos in the Actions column.

Once a video has been downloaded, "Already Downloaded" will appear next to the Download Video link.

If you have many videos on Google Video, you may need to use the paging controls located on the bottom right of the page to access them all. Please note: This download option will be available through May 13, 2011.