Blogger Now Supports Creating Featured Thumbnails for YouTube Videos

YouTube Thumbnails Support in Blogger BlogsWhile developing a JSON based Plugin for blogger blogs, we observed that Blogger now creates a featured thumbnail image automatically for YouTube videos embedded inside blog posts. This means now you don't need to extract YouTube Thumbnails using an advanced JavaScript method. This is done dynamically by Blogger through its JSON Feed API. In this tutorial I will demonstrate in brief how this thumbnail is created and stored inside a json object. If you are a developer, you may find this discovery extremely interesting because it helps to shorten your code and optimize it for better performance as no search for YouTube thumbnail is required now on your behalf. So far the thumbnail support only exists for YouTube videos, I tested vimeo and dailymotion videos but the thumbnails were not created.

In our coming JSON series we will surely discuss the JavaScript technique that we previously used to develop widgets for clients because though blogger creates an auto thumbnail for YouTube Iframe but the disadvantage of this method is that the thumbnail is in square format having dimensions 72 x 72. Blogger is actually extracting the default small YouTube thumbnail which has dimensions 120 x 90 (pixels).Therefore if you wish to display large HQ thumbnails inside your apps then you may wait for our next tutorial.

If you are new to Blogspot JSON feeds, I would recommend that you at least read part1 and part2 of this tutorial series.

Note: Click the Button below to see full list of topics under discussion.

Topics List

The YouTube Thumbnail is stored inside media$thumbnail

Assuming you already have read how to view your JSON feed in a human readable format, I am sharing below the steps to locate where exactly the thumbnail is stored.

1. Embed a YouTube Iframe inside your blog and publish the post.

2. Copy your new JSON code. In our case we are using a test blog and the url for its JSON feed is:

3. Next Navigate to JSON > feed > entry

Select the most recent post which of course is inside the element { } 0

blogger json feed thumbnail

4. Expand the node media$thumbnail to see its elements.

media thumbnail node elements

From the image above you can observe that Blogger JSON feed provides 4 basic information about the thumbnails. The important among which is the url.

  • xmlns$media:  This tag provides the link for Media RSS specification directory which provides meta data info for video clips. Currently though it points to but it will soon be replaced with in future. Full Details
  • url: This is the Image link to the default YouTube Thumbnail. Its default size 120 X 9.
  • height: default size for height
  • width: default size for width

The thumbnail that blogger creates ends with extension default.jpg. If you replace it with 0.jpg, you will get a much larger High Quality thumbnail. We will discuss how to do it in our coming tutorial.  (120 x 90)

default youtube thumbnail

Replace with 0.png for large thumbnails   (480 x 360 )

Large youtube thumbnail

Need Help?

For a more advanced approach I will share the JavaScript technique in next part of this tutorial series. Let me know if you have any queries with regard to the above tutorial. I have tested vimeo videos and also dailymotion videos by embedding them in blogspot posts but so far only YouTube thumbnails are supported in Blogger.

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