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Most global motion estimation (GME) methods are oriented to video coding while video object segmentation methods either assume no global motion (GM) or directly adopt a coding-oriented method to compensate for GM. This paper proposes a hierarchical differential GME method oriented to video object segmentation. A scheme which combines three-step search and motion parameters prediction is proposed for initial estimation to increase efficiency. A robust estimator that uses object information to reject outliers introduced by local motion is also proposed. For the first frame, when the object information is unavailable, a robust estimator is proposed which rejects outliers by examining their distribution in local neighborhoods of the error between the current and the motion-compensated previous frame. Subjective and objective results show that the proposed method is more robust, more oriented to video object segmentation, and faster than the referenced methods.