If you wanted to watch the trailer for Natalie Portman’s upcoming sci-fi movie Annihilation, you would probably go to YouTube. You might even ask Alexa to pull it up on your Amazon Echo Show. Not so fast — Google and Amazon aren’t playing together, as playing YouTube videos on the Echo Show apparently violates Google’s terms of service. Despite a recent workaround that allowed Echo Show users to continue accessing YouTube by going to the web browser, it looks like Google is now pulling its video service for good. And more importantly, the platform is also disappearing from 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,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “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.”
Starting Tuesday, YouTube will no longer be supported on the Echo Show. Folks who own Fire TVs will also begin seeing a notification alerting them to the fact that YouTube will no longer be available beginning January 1, 2018. If you do ask Alexa to show a YouTube video, she snippily replies, “Currently, Google is not supporting YouTube on Echo Show.”
Previously, an Amazon statement to The Verge claimed that Google made the change “without explanation and without notification to customers.” Google responded, “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.”
Considering videos are supposed to be the big draw of the Echo Show, this is quite a blow to Amazon and to device owners. The company touted it as a great fit for kitchen counters, where users could watch a video on the proper way to clean tomatillos as they are making a new recipe. There are still apps like the one from Food Network with videos, but they don’t have the amount and variety that YouTube does.
This isn’t the first time Google has blocked a device from accessing YouTube. In 2013, Windows Phone users found out they were unable to watch the site’s videos. When Microsoft re-released the app, it had a different design and ads, both in response to Google’s complaints.
There’s quite a history of bad blood between Amazon and Google. As YouTube noted in its most recent statement, the Google Chromecast wasn’t always available on Amazon, and Amazon Video wasn’t supported on the Google’s Android TV platform. And in fact, when the Fire TV first made its debut, it did so without YouTube support. In many ways, this simply marks the latest in a lengthy saga, and the folks really suffering from the dispute are … well, us. Hopefully, the two companies can reach an agreement soon. In the meantime, there are still some useful things you can do with your Show, like see your calendar or read a book.
Update: Google officially pulls YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show and Fire TV.