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'DVD Jon' edits Google video

Change to the just-introduced Video Viewer lets people play clips that are not hosted on Google's servers.

A day after Google released its Video Viewer, a Norwegian programmer tweaked the application to make it play clips that are not on Google's servers.

Google introduced the Video Viewer on Monday as part of a Web-based video search service that lets people use keywords to search its indexed database of videos from numerous suppliers, including CNET Networks, parent of News.com.

Google restricted the Video Viewer, which is based on the open-source VLC player, to only play back files that are stored on its servers.

Jon Johansen, also known as DVD Jon, on Tuesday posted code on his Web site that he said removes that restriction.

Johansen gained fame several years ago for releasing software that cracked copy protection on DVDs. He has also been in the news for reverse engineering encryption in Apple Computer's iTunes music software.

In a statement on Wednesday, Google confirmed Johansen's Video Viewer tweak. The company noted that the code was not a hack and did not in any way compromise Google's systems.

"This modification of Google's open-source video viewer does not compromise the integrity and security of content available from Google Video in any way," the Mountain View, Calif., search company said.

Google is advising people not to install Johansen's software on top of Video Viewer. "It could result in security vulnerabilities on their computer and may disrupt their computer's ability to access Google Video," it said in the statement.