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Screen recorders for Chrome: ViewedIt vs Openvid

28 October 2016, Mike Williams

Openvid Screen RecorderRecording what’s happening on your desktop can help you create presentations, share ideas, troubleshoot problems, or just impress others with your gaming skills.

Getting started is surprisingly easy. There’s no need for complex native clients, just installing a free Chrome extension like ViewedIt or OpenVid Screen Recorder could give you everything you need.

Both addons are built for simplicity. Click an address bar button; choose to record your webcam, individual tabs, application windows or the entire screen, optionally with your microphone; capture starts, and you click again when you’ve finished. Easy.

OpenVid Screen Recorder scores an immediate plus for its ability to pause and resume recording with a click. That’s much more flexible than ViewedIt, where you have to record the video in one block (or use multiple videos).

Maximum video length is another issue. ViewedIt allows up to one hour, while initially OpenVid is restricted to five minute movies which are only available for 24 hours. But get two friends to sign up to OpenVid and you’ll have unlimited recording time and access, perhaps another win for the service.

Openvid Screen Recorder

A handy countdown tells you when Openvid will start recording, but you can also pause captures with a click

Once recording is over, both sites host the video on their own servers, and copy their links to your clipboard, ready for sharing.

OpenVid has some traditional extras. You’re able to get an embed code to insert the video into your own blog or website, or you can download it as an MP4.

ViewedIt focuses more on getting your masterpiece out to the world, with buttons for sharing the movie on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Handy Gmail integration allows the add-on to insert a video thumbnail into your message, along with the link.

Even better, ViewedIt gives you very simple analytics. The Chrome extension displays a notification when someone watches your video, and if they’ve clicked a link in one of the ViewedIt-generated Gmail messages, you’ll even be able to see who they are.

While that’s neat, there’s a gaping hole in ViewedIt’s functionality. We expected to see a page listing all our uploaded videos, allowing us to manage them and compare viewing figures at a glance, but apparently that’s still “coming soon”. Right now the best you can do is save each video URL and return to it individually, and even that won’t give you a proper report.

Openvid scores a victory here with its single video management page, even though the lack of analytics means there’s not much you can do with it.

Both extensions are focused on simplicity rather than power. They don’t have any editing features, not even a simple trim, so they’re only really suitable for informal, ad-hoc clips.

OpenVid is our pick for most people, as long as they can lose the restrictions by getting a couple of friends to sign up. Features like the ability to pause and resume recording, and view all your videos in one place, make it more convenient to use, and it was also more reliable in our tests.

ViewedIt had occasional authentication glitches, and the lack of any video management tools is a major omission. But it’s a new service, we’ve no doubt there’s much more to come, and if you can use the viewer notification system it could still save you some time.

ViewedIt and OpenVid Screen Recorder are free extensions for Google Chrome.

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