Google has pulled YouTube from Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker. Apparently, Google and Amazon are in some kind of disagreement with the former claiming that the Echo Show is violating their terms of service.
For the uninitiated, the Echo Show is one of Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers. It’s currently the only model that features a touchscreen display and a front-facing camera for video chats. The display on the Echo Show also allows users to watch videos online and even use it as a monitor to view their home security cameras.
YouTube mysteriously disappeared from the Echo Show yesterday afternoon. If users ask Alexa to show them a YouTube video, Amazon’s digital assistant will respond by saying, “Currently, Google is not supporting Youtube on Echo Show.”
“Google made a change today at around 3 pm. 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,” Amazon said on its statement sent to The Verge. “There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.”
Amazon’s statement makes it clear that there was no technical issue involved with the sudden disappearance of YouTube from the Echo Show. It also makes it look like Google pulled YouTube from the Echo Show for no apparent reason. However, Google has released a statement that sheds some light as to why it did this, and it looks like the two companies have some disagreements on how YouTube is suppose to work.
“We’ve been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms,” Google said. “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.”
It’s being speculated that Google might not be too happy with how Amazon decided to integrate YouTube on the Echo Show. Some of the functionalities that’s available on the YouTube desktop site and most of its apps allows users to share, comment and recommend videos. These are all features that’s not available on the Echo Show version of YouTube.
Google is very particular when it comes to how YouTube is implemented on other devices and services. Back in 2013, Google blocked the YouTube app that’s built specifically for Microsoft’s Windows Phone because it didn’t show ads nor did it allow users to download videos. Microsoft modified the app to adhere to Google standards and the YouTube app was re-released for the Windows Phone.
It’s possible that we’re seeing a similar type of disagreement between Google and Amazon. Perhaps Google wants YouTube to function more closely to how it works on smartphones and tablets. YouTube on the Echo Show also doesn’t allow users to view their subscriptions, nor do they have access to recommended videos.
It looks like Amazon doesn’t have much of a choice here, as pointed out by TechCrunch. If the Echo Show permanently loses access to YouTube, it would certainly affect the device’s appeal with consumers since it’s the only Alexa smart speaker that’s capable of showing videos.
Google pulls YouTube support from the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker.