Amazon’s Echo Show is an Alexa-enabled smart speaker featuring a screen for enjoyable and convenient video watching, however, in a recent move, Google has ceased YouTube access from the device.
Should a consumer ask the smart speaker to show them a YouTube video, Alexa is said to respond: “Currently, Google is not supporting Youtube on Echo Show”.
When queried by media [The Verge] about the change, Amazon responded with the following statement:
“Google made a change today at around 3 pm [US time]. YouTube used to be available to our shared customers on Echo Show”
“As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers”.
The implication is Google has made a conscious decision (in Amazon’s eyes) to pull YouTube from the Echo Show.
Concerning its decision for doing so, Google provided the following statement to media requests [The Verge]:
“We’ve been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms. Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon”.
Historically (and as stated in its API) Google has been very specific about how YouTube is displayed on apps developed by other companies. In 2013, the company clashed with Microsoft over the way the YouTube app was displayed on the Windows Phone – Google eventually blocked the app, and Microsoft was forced to revert to a web player for YouTube.
For many consumers, having a smart assistant like Alexa lose the ability to display YouTube videos, will likely be a missed feature.
The news follows growing tension between Google and Amazon. Google’s Chromecast is still not officially available to purchase from Amazon.
Some commentators speculate the move could be driven by Google’s own commercial interests.