Friday, February 10, 2012

Google Video Chat disables other capture applications

Since I recently stumbled back into video capture work for a client, I thought I should bring to light an annoyance with Google Video Chat that caused several moments of consternation.

Google Video Chat installs fake Direct Show video capture drivers (Google Camera Adapter 0 and Google Camera Adapter 1). Although these drivers are registered with DirectShow as functioning capture devices in the category CLSID_VideoInputDeviceCategory they are in fact not available to applications other than Google Video Chat and return errors when they are instantiated using normal DirectShow conventions. Since many programs (including the one I’m in the process of writing!) weren't written to handle the case of a registered , but non-functioning capture device, they fail in various ways, not to mention the general confusion of having a bunch of non-functioning entries in device selection lists within the program.

Since this problem has been known for over a year now but has not been corrected, should one assume that we are witnessing an attempt by Google to undermine the functionality of alternative video capture applications for their own benefit? Evil or not evil, you decide!

The simple fix which would be trivial for Google to implement is to not register the Google Camera Adapter in the CLSID_VideoInputDeviceCategory category.


DirectShow App Mess: Google Video Chat vs. Skype

Hardware/Software issues

Google camera adapter causing problems with other programs!searchin/chat/%22google$20camera$20adapter%22/chat/MygYu9bo_hw/xfCcgy1p2zMJ

GOOGLE CHAT CAMERA BLOCKS MY REGULAR CAMERA!searchin/chat/"google$20camera$20adapter"/chat/mIXdZWBGOKw/oewf2rIZ1TQJ

Google Camera Adapter shows up as a source when it is not

How to uninstall "Google Camera Adapter 0" and "Google Camera Adapter 1"?!searchin/chat/"google$20camera$20adapter"/chat/5C-JcQjQA7Y/TcHusD0iX3sJ