Every time you want to play a YouTube video, you need to open a web browser, then go to the YouTube website, and finally search for a video. But what if you get the ability to search and play YouTube videos directly from your system without having to open a web browser? There’s a way I can show you how to do that in a Linux-based operating system. The Gnome-shell includes a YouTube Search Provider extension that allows you to search and play YouTube videos directly from the application window. With the extension, you can play YouTube videos in your favorite video player. The extension supports some video players like VLC, SMPlayer, UMplayer, Totem, Miro, mpv. If your system does not have these video players, the video will play in your web browser.

The extension provides a convenient way to search and play YouTube videos without using a web browser and a YouTube website. Simply press the Windows key on your keyboard and search for any YouTube video by typing its name.

In this article, we will explain how to search for YouTube videos on a Debian-based operating system with a Gnome shell extension. We will use Debian 10 to describe the procedure mentioned in this article.

Installing YouTube Search Provider extension

We will need to launch the Software Center in our Debian OS to install YouTube search provider extension. To do so, press Windows key on your keyboard. A Dash menu will appear. On the left, click on the Software Center icon as shown below.

Then in the search bar of software center, type youtube search. When the results appear, click on the YouTube search provider extension as shown in the below screenshot.

Now simply click on the Install button to start installing the youtube search provider extension.

Then you will be asked for confirmation. Click on the Install button to confirm.

It will just take a few seconds for the installation to be completed. Then the extension will be enabled automatically.

Now you can search for YouTube videos right from your Activities overlay. Click on the Activities tab on the top left corner of your desktop or press Windows key to open the Dash menu. Now in the search bar, type the video name and you will get the results as shown in the following screenshot. Click on any YouTube video to play.

The selected video will be played on your default video player.

The YouTube search extension supports some extensions like VLC, SMPlayer, UMplayer, Totem, Miro, mpv. If you do not have a video player from one of these supported video players, then the selected video will be played in your default web browser.

Extension Settings

To change the default behavior of extension, navigate to Software Center Installed tab, then scroll down to open the YouTube Search Provider extension. Then click on Extension Settings.

Here you will find a set of configuration options.

Viewer options

From there, select the video player in which you want to play videos. Choose from VLC (the default option), SMPlayer, UMplayer, Totem, Miro, and mpv.

Search options

Here you will find some search filters:

  1. Order the search results based on view count, upload date, rating, title, video count.
  2. Search for videos newer than a given time and date
  3. Enable or disable safe search
  4. See only the videos that have captions
  5. Search for SD or HD videos
  6. Filter videos based upon video duration
  7. Search for only 2D or 3D videos
  8. Filter videos based on Particular license
  9. Restrict the search to a particular type of videos like movies or episodes

So that is how you can install the YouTube Search Provider extension in your Debian OS. Now searching and playing YouTube videos is just one click away from your desktop.

How to search for YouTube videos on Debian GNOME Desktop
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.