Videos not loading in Google Drive

TL;DR: Check that Third Party Cookies are enabled in Chrome and/or G Suite Device Management user settings.

We use Google Drive a lot at work. We are also beginning to use video as a method of training or recording information that you would typically write down. We do still write this stuff down, but sometimes a video is easier to create and consume alongside a document.

We’ve had an issue recently where, seemingly randomly, some people wouldn’t be able to play any videos through Google Drive. They’d open the video and the youtube video player would load, but the video itself wouldn’t start.

Right clicking and downloading the video worked, but that’s not really a suitable workaround to the issue.

We weren’t really able to find anything online about this issue either, but we did find out what caused it so if someone else searches, here’s what we did to resolve the issue.

Chrome console errors

These errors popped when trying to play the video so we started with working out why it was saying the client was blocking various things.

At first we thought it was a uBlock Origin or web filter issue.

The web filter showed nothing being blocked, so that was an immediate dead end.

We deploy uBlock Origin out to all machines via Group Policy, so next we started adding domains from the error console to the whitelist. Though this did reduce the number of “ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT” errors it didn’t fix the actual issue, so we eventually started disabling or removing the extension entirely but this too had no effect. It turns out that all that uBlock Origin was doing was disabling the google tracking stuff, not actually hampering the video playback.

Whilst testing this we identified that the issue only occured for people who were signed into Google Chrome (the browser itself opposed to the website) or were using a Chromebook.

We realised that the issue must be a setting in the G Suite managment console that has caused this.

After further digging around in the audit logs we found that we had disabled Third Party Cookies for the whole organisation at around the same time as this issue begun to appear on our helpdesk. By re-enabling these cookies we were able to get the videos to load properly for every user.

You can enable/disable Third Party Cookies on G Suite Admin Console by searching for “third party cookie blocking” or by navigating to Device Management > Chrome > User Settings.

You can also disable or enable Third Party Cookies in the Chrome browser itself by clicking the three dots menu icon > Settings > Privacy and security (under “Advanced”) > Content Settings… > Cookies. Clicking here (if you’re using chrome) should work, too. There’s an option there to (un)block third party cookies.

It would be nice if Google could make their player work without third party cookies, however for us being able to view videos on Google Drive is pretty important so we have re-enabled it for now.

Leave a Reply