The bickering between Amazon and Google is showing the benefit of having an agnostic platform. Bother appear to be sacrificing consumer choice and content access to further their competitive advantage. These types of actions have the potential to draw further regulatory attention, recalling actions years ago against Microsoft who used their OS and application market dominance to hurt competition. After years of fighting with the EU Microsoft paid the fines and modified their practices. Google is in a similar position now and it seems likely that Amazon will be next.
Google pulls YouTube off the Amazon Echo Show Goodbye, cooking lessons and music videos by Dieter Bohn@backlon Sep 26, 2017, 8:01pm EDT
Amazon and Google are in a not-so-fun fight. Google has apparently decided to stop allowing the Amazon Echo Show to access YouTube. If you ask the smart speaker to show you a YouTube video, it fails and Alexa just say this: “Currently, Google is not supporting Youtube on Echo Show.”
That seems like a pretty strong thing for a computer to say, so I asked Amazon about it, and the company issued this (excuse the pun) fire statement:
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. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.
The Echo Show, if you’re not familiar, is the Alexa-enabled smart speaker that has a screen on it so you can do stuff like... watch video. And YouTube is the internet’s largest source of said video. One of the core use cases of the Echo Show for some people might be watching cooking lessons or music videos — on YouTube.
Amazon’s strident statement makes clear that it doesn’t believe this is a technical mistake, but a conscious choice by Google. Google, however, very much begs to differ on the reason it blocked YouTube on the Echo Show:
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. Reading between the lines, I’d guess Google very much wants features that it thinks are essential for YouTube’s future growth included, stuff like subscriptions, next video recommendations, autoplay, and so on. But who knows! Only the negotiators at the table.
Google has a history of being particular about how YouTube gets displayed on apps made by other companies, citing the terms of service on its API. Way back in 2013, it got in a tiff with Microsoft over the YouTube app on Windows Phone, blocking the app and leading Microsoft to just revert to a web player for YouTube.
If you wanted to spin a darker story, there’s certainly plenty of fodder for you to do that. Google, as you’re no doubt aware, has its own smart speaker that communicates via the Google Assistant. Google Home doesn’t have a screen, but you can ask it for YouTube videos by streaming it to a Chromecast. Google Home also allows you to listen to music sourced from YouTube.
THIS ISN’T A FUN FIGHT This sort of push and pull between companies that compete on multiple fronts is nothing new. But seeing an intelligent assistant like Alexa lose the ability to display video from YouTube feels a little ominous. Way back in January 2016, I wrote about how intelligent assistants usually only give one answer to questions and who controls that answer can be just as much the result of deals as it is the result of algorithms figuring out the right answer.
If nothing else, it’s clear that Google and Amazon are not doing a very good job working out that deal. (And hey look, the Google Chromecast still isn’t officially available to buy on Amazon.)
If you were thinking that the time when you could sort of trust a search engine to not give you results that are limited by inter-company agreements was a golden age that’s ending, I wouldn’t say you were wrong.
Or maybe not! Now that they’ve issued dueling public statements about this kerfuffle, maybe the two companies will work it out, and everything will end up being fine. Totally fine... until the next time the information you want to access is comes via an API with Terms of Service instead of a free and open link on the web.
Three months ago, YouTube pulled its programming from Amazon’s Echo Show device — the first skirmish in what is apparently an ongoing war. Shortly after, Amazon stopped selling the Nest E Thermostat, Nest’s Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system. Two weeks ago, Amazon got YouTube back on the Echo Show by simply directing users to the web version, a workaround that left a lot to be desired. But even that version won’t be available after today.
In a statement this afternoon, a YouTube spokesperson announced that the company was withdrawing support for its service on both the Echo Show and, more importantly, Amazon’s Fire TV:
“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services. But Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.” YouTube will be pulled from the Echo Show today. Customers who own an Fire TV will start seeing a notification today warning them that the service will be unavailable as of January 1st, 2018. Perhaps Google is hoping that the threat of losing YouTube on its main streaming device will force Amazon to negotiate a truce both sides can live with before the new year.
For bonus points, try asking Alexa to order you a Chromecast and see how she responds. I was offered a Fire TV stick, then a Roku, before she ran out of options.
Google and Amazon are punishing their own customers in a bitter feud www.theverge.com/2017/12/5/16738752/google-youtube-amazon-punishing-customers-feud It shouldn’t have come to this by Chris Welch Dec 5, 2017, 5:26pm EST Amazon has just responded to Google’s decision to remove YouTube from all Fire TV products and the Echo Show. “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website,” a spokesperson told The Verge by email. “We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.” YouTube is being pulled from the Show effective immediately, and Fire TV owners will lose out on the popular, essential video streaming app on January 1st.
Google says it’s taking this extreme step because of Amazon’s recent delisting of new Nest products (like Nest Secure and the E Thermostat) and the company’s long-running refusal to sell Chromecast or support Google Cast in any capacity.
But regardless of the public stance each company takes over the next few days, it’s their mutual customers who are unfairly getting jerked around. YouTube is a cornerstone of any living room streaming device, and for Google to suddenly decide to strip it from millions of existing Fire TV owners — assuming no agreement is reached by January 1st — is shameful. YouTube is video on the internet. Period. It’s also home to beloved creators, and Google’s decision will soon rob them of viewers.
LOSING YOUTUBE WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON FIRE TV SALES Kicking the Echo Show to the curb doesn’t impact nearly as many people, but it still stings since watching cooking videos from YouTube on the Alexa screen in your kitchen seemed like one of the perfect uses for the thing! But since Google is being pedantic and needlessly obsessive over every detail of how the app functions on Amazon’s device, that’s no longer possible. This is the second time YouTube has disappeared from the Show. Google said the first iteration had a “broken user experience,” which resulted in a revised version that was basically the full-blown desktop website. That’s not exactly ideal from a usability standpoint.
“Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website,” the Amazon spokesperson said. But sources familiar with Google’s position say the company takes issue with Amazon overlaying its own voice controls on top of YouTube. That violates section 4b of YouTube’s terms of service, which reads “you agree not to alter or modify any part of the service.”
Google is dealing Amazon’s devices real damage by withdrawing YouTube, and you could reasonably argue it has the upper hand here. There are people who simply won’t buy a Fire TV as a result of this move, and many existing owners will be displeased come January. Actually, they’re already rather upset since YouTube is displaying a cold, matter-of-fact warning about the cutoff starting today — and gently pushing users towards other devices. If you follow that link, there’s no explanation given as to why a device you paid money for will suddenly be made worse when the calendar hits 2018.
Twitter Ads info and privacy Amazon isn’t without fault either. The company dragged its feet for years in releasing a proper Prime Video app for Android in the Google Play Store. That only happened earlier this year. Previously, you had to install Amazon’s own, separate app store and only then could you install Prime Video. It was a sad, convoluted attempt at luring users to the Amazon Appstore. Even now, Prime Video still doesn’t support Chromecast, as Google points out.
GOOGLE’S COMPLAINTS ABOUT AMAZON ARE ALL VALID And that’s directly tied to Chromecast’s absence on Amazon.com. Since there’s no easy way of watching Prime Video, Amazon won’t sell it. But it’s Amazon’s own fault that Prime Video doesn’t work with Chromecast. Amazon has the power to make it happen. What’s Google supposed to do in this scenario?
Even to casual observers, Amazon’s decision to remove popular, well-liked products from its store over this spat — or never sell them to begin with — is an ugly example of the company throwing its weight and power around. No one should be surprised that Google is crying foul. Is the company under any obligation to sell Google Home — the chief rival to its own Echo? Of course not. Them’s the breaks. But the Chromecast situation is troubling, and Amazon’s recent halting of sales for certain Nest hardware (with no real explanation) seems juvenile. Prime shipping is still a very powerful incentive, and Amazon is well aware of that.
What frustrates me most is that neither of these companies have bothered to apologize to customers over their squabbling. There’s no “we’re sorry to everyone affected.” On YouTube’s end, it’s just an abrupt, indifferent “Hey, you’re losing YouTube!” message to Fire TV owners. Google says “we hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.” Business terms take priority and customers come second. There’s no other way of looking at this or framing it. No one’s fighting for some greater good.
We’re witnessing the worst kind of petty bickering from two tech giants, and consumers are taking the brunt of this escalating feud. If that’s not embarassing enough, the companies are already being mocked by industry groups in favor of dismantling net neutrality. USTelecom wasted little time in piling on. “Broadband ISPs are committed to providing an open internet for their customers, including protections like no content blocking or throttling,” CEO Jonathan Spalter said. “Seems like some of the biggest internet companies can’t say the same. Ironic, isn’t it?” This stubborn conflict is turning into fodder for FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s supporters.
It should never have come to this. Amazon and Google, your options are to make this right, take your grievances to the FTC, or go to court. But don’t take it out on people who just want to enjoy their gadgets. Let people have their YouTube. 2017 has been hard enough to endure already.
Under: Been on the sidelines for a bit holding (building) cash. Now that "BIGLEY" has rolled out the tax plan its time to jump in.
Dec 21, 2017 19:06:02 GMT -6
martyc: Looks like you are buying Msft again!
Dec 15, 2017 11:23:29 GMT -6
martyc: The news that Trump called Rupert to congratulate him sure seems to indicate that this is heading to approval
Dec 15, 2017 11:22:23 GMT -6
Under: DIS finally getting some traction.?
Dec 14, 2017 17:08:45 GMT -6
martyc: I took an entry level position in DIS. Will add eventually to overweight when it becomes clearer that the deal will go thru. Can't believe how well positioned they will be. 60% Hulu. 20% of content watched on NFLX they can pull. More in thread
Dec 14, 2017 11:05:16 GMT -6
Under: Great posts on $DIS
Dec 13, 2017 17:50:49 GMT -6
Under: $ROKU Citron on a war path.
Nov 28, 2017 15:11:20 GMT -6
Under: $HAS takeover bid for $MAT?
Nov 10, 2017 16:16:07 GMT -6
martyc: Not looking like the market will provide any discounted opp for SGMO. Call was just too professional and all signs indicate they are on a great path for commercialization. Happy with core but wish I had some trading shs
Nov 10, 2017 9:04:05 GMT -6
martyc: For anyone looking to find an entry point into SGMO, I'm almost hoping is sells off in next few days so I can add more. They are really clicking but the fact they haven't signed new deals might cause some to exit. Watching as I have room for trading shs
Nov 9, 2017 18:28:09 GMT -6
martyc: Been an interesting ride so far. I figured the Bears would be about this good but hoped the O wouldn't look so lame. Another building yr but still possible to get to 8-8 IMO
Nov 9, 2017 18:26:08 GMT -6
Under: whats up with your Bears this year Marty?
Nov 9, 2017 17:35:25 GMT -6
martyc: Hope you were long ROKU. I wanted to see Q first so missed out
Nov 9, 2017 7:08:53 GMT -6