There was an uproar a few months ago when Google disabled YouTube access to people using the Amazon Echo Show. Google alleges that Amazon violated their terms of service. Now it seems that YouTube is back on the Echo Show and it looks a heck of a lot different. It more closely resembles what you’d expect to find when browsing YouTube on the web or even on a tablet. This new look is directed at the fact that they wanted to bring YouTube back to the Echo Show. And, the update includes the requirements set out by Google and YouTube. The new look feels more like the YouTube people know and love. It’s good that it’s back because it wasn’t the same without it.
Another interesting fact about the way that the app was originally designed was that it disabled ads. Which is likely the real reason that Google disabled the app’s access. And you can’t really blame them when this is their bread and butter, can you? Amazon made the following statement about YouTube’s return:
“We’re excited to offer customers the capability to watch even more video content from sources such as Vimeo, YouTube and Dailymotion on Echo Show. More video sources will be added over time.”
YouTube account holders accessing the device using an Echo Show can now see their subscriptions, video recommendations, and control autoplay – all of which were missing in the Amazon-designed, voice-control optimized interface. Which, I mean, does seem to violate their terms of service. Because it’s not like you’re actually getting the YouTube that you want. You’re getting an Amazon version of it. Which is ok, but if you can’t have the same functionality, is it worth having at all? Further to that, there is some concern that some of the original voice commands won’t work with this version. Which ones will work though?
- “Alexa, play cat videos on YouTube”
- “Alexa, play Taylor Swift, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ music video”
- “Alexa, zoom in,” which will make the video full-screen once
- “Alexa, pause/stop/play”
The spat over the Echo Show’s previous YouTube implementation was just the latest in a long history of animosities between the two companies. Amazon has been using a modified version of Android for some of its devices that don’t include the original Google apps, and the company also stopped selling Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter on its website in 2015. The big question I have in all of this, is whether or not this update (or correction) is part of a bigger plan to push these units in time for the holidays? More specifically, Black Friday.
I am not saying that Amazon has done this just in time for Black Friday, but it does seem awfully convenient don’t you think? And a great sales tactic, in my opinion. While I like the Amazon devices, I think they need to improve a bit when it comes to what they offer on the devices themselves. So perhaps this is a bigger plan of Amazon to expand its offerings on its devices, which would be a win-win in my opinion.